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Forbes : The Impact of Artificial Intelligence on Surgery

Proximie – a plug-and-play, hardware-agnostic, remote collaboration platform using a live video stream with augmented reality tools – announced today that the 5,000th procedure using the med tech software this year has been achieved. Since the beginning of the year and the advent of the worldwide COVID-19 pandemic, Proximie’s growth has exploded with 700 Proximie-assisted procedures now being performed on average per month.

Designed by founder-CEO Dr. Nadine Hachach-Haram, a working surgeon herself, Proximie is a technology platform that uses a combination of AR, artificial intelligence and real-time communications, to allow clinicians to virtually “scrub in” and collaborate with each other from anywhere in the world. Used in operating rooms and cath labs globally, Proximie has been deployed in 35 countries across 5 continents.

“The quality of health care you receive shouldn’t depend on where you live. This is especially true as the pandemic has swept the world, limiting travel by specialists who normally would be on-site in the operating room,” says Dr. Hachach-Haram.

In one recent case, a 31-year man in London needed a specialized operation for a rare form of cancer. Using Proximie, Dr. Jim Porter, an expert in the required robotic procedure, was able to help guide the London surgical team through a complex series of incisions over the course of five

“We’ve witnessed ten years of change in a month” is a typical description of how the pandemic is accelerating the use of telemedicine. Before the virus, video appointments made up only 1% of the 350m consultations which Britain’s National Health Service handles each year. Companies like Docly, eConsult and AccuRx are changing that. The latter claims that 90% of primary care clinics in England are now using its video-calling system.

The most dramatic form of telemedicine is remote surgery. It is not new, but it is growing, and it offers enormous benefits. It can help overcome the shortage of doctors in many places around the world, and it can improve training, raise standards, and drive innovation within the medical profession.

Proximie

One of the leading enablers of remote surgery is Proximie, a four year-old London-based company whose web-based platform allows surgeons to collaborate remotely via audio, video and augmented reality. Its founder is Nadine Hachach-Haram, a reconstructive plastic surgeon, and if you have a strong stomach, you can watch her demonstrate Proximie’s platform in a real operation in a talk filmed at TEDWomen 2017.

Hachach-Haram played video games as a child, and her father was a computer engineer, but the company was started more-or-less accidentally, as a hobby. In 2015, an early version of the platform was tested with a surgeon in California, training colleagues in Peru in a programme run by the Global Smile Foundation, which provides cleft palate surgery for children. The platform was first used during real-time surgery in an operation on a bomb blast victim in Gaza in 2016. In 2019, the UK Ministry of Defence awarded Proximie a multi-year contract to provide access to its AR system to front-line field hospitals, and Royal Navy ships located around the world. Hachach-Haram is now a member of medicine’s good and the great, and one of the authors of a 2019 report on the Future of Surgery by the Royal College of Surgeons (RCS).

* https://www.forbes.com/sites/calumchace/2020/10/08/the-impact-of-ai-on-surgery/#3eb1a1518425/