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Empowering cardiologists across continents to share expertise that helped to save a life.

Using Proximie, Professor Fadi Sawaya, MD, FACC, Director of the Structural Heart and Valve Program at the American University of Beirut Medical Center, was able to remotely collaborate with an expert cardiologist in Copenhagen, and several Abbott Medical device experts in the US, during a critical transcatheter aortic valve implantation (TAVI).

Proximie’s intuitive technology platform, that combines augmented reality, artificial intelligence and machine learning, enabled experts from all over the world, during a time when access to cath labs is heavily restricted due to Covid-19, to virtually work together in real-time.

The operation took place at the American University of Beirut Medical Center, but Professor Fadi was able to call upon the clinical expertise of expert cardiologist, Professor Lars Sondergaard, who works at the Department of Cardiology, Rigshospitalet Hospital, in Copenhagen.

Professor Sondergaard was able to remotely support by virtually scrubbing in from over 2,500 miles away. This cross continent collaboration between Copenhagen and Beirut meant the operation could successfully go ahead without compromising the ongoing battle to stop the pandemic. It meant there were fewer clinicians required in the cath lab, and Professor Fadi could call upon Professor Sondergaard virtually and remotely during a time when travel was off limits.

Fadi Sawaya said: “The procedure went extremely well. It was a very complicated case and their input (from Professor Lars) was extremely important.”

“It’s just like sitting in the control room,” Professor Lars explains. “You could see everything that was going on, and the audio was perfect. There was no delay, which you sometimes face if you do live cases streamed by the internet.”

He continued: “Remote proctoring has been described for a long time, both amongst physicians and of course companies, and I have always been a little reluctant about how it works in real life. I think what I saw was really impressive, really useful and I think it has huge potential.”

Incorporating Proximie into routine or complex clinical practices is becoming commonplace during COVID-19, because the augmented reality platform can seamlessly maximise healthcare resources, scale the delivery of expertise and ultimately ensure that every single patient has access to the best possible care, regardless of where they are in the world.

“Proximie’s integrated technologies allow clinicians in remote locations to interact virtually in a way which mimics what they would experience if they were collaborating in the same room,” Proximie’s Founder and CEO, Dr. Nadine Hachach-Haram FRCS (Plast), BEM, Consultant Plastic Surgeon and Head of Clinical Innovation at Guy’s and St. Thomas’ NHS Foundation Trust, explained. “It means one can physically show the other where to make an incision, in real-time, or use virtual gestures to illustrate a technique, rather than just talking about it.”

She continued: “In this particular case, Proximie helped to facilitate the sharing of skills between two very skilled cardiologists that ordinarily would not have been able to happen.”

A separate procedure recently took place between London and Seattle, under equally remote conditions, which was covered by The Sunday Times. The pioneering robot-assisted retroperitoneal lymph node dissection for testicular cancer took place on an NHS patient, in London, but thanks to Proximie, the UK surgical team could call upon expertise all the way from Seattle. The procedure was conducted by UK urologist Archie Fernando, who was able to collaborate with Dr. Jim Porter, the medical director for robotic surgery at the Swedish Medical Centre in Seattle, and one of the world’s leading laparoscopy surgeons.

“It was kind of like being the player on the tennis court and having the coach in the wings,” Fernando told The Sunday Times. “I was doing the case, but he was making suggestions.”