Approximately two-thirds of the world’s population lacks access to many common, safe surgeries. One software company, Proximie, is using telemedicine to try to help fill that gap.
Proximie is an application designed for mobile devices that allows a surgeon in one location to view the operative field and provide instruction in the operating room at a different location. The Proximie platform is based around the concept of having two mobile devices, one in each location, that has a camera for viewing and screen/microphone setup for communicating.
The remote “assisting” surgeon can guide the case with commentary or screen markings, using augmented reality, to direct the operating surgeon. This form of advice can be very helpful to a surgeon that has a basic skill set and equipment to perform a procedure that they may have never seen before or performed on their own. Similarly, even an experienced surgeon that encounters a challenging or different part of a case could seek an intraoperative consult with this software. The technology has already been used to guide surgery performed in the Gaza strip with assisting surgeons in Beirut.
We’ve seen others use augmented reality to aid in surgeries. For example, several groups tested Google Glass for cardiac procedures, using the device to allow experts in a specific procedure to provide real-time advice.
The technology can also be used as an educational tool. In researching Proximie, I communicated with the company and discovered they are developing several educational uses for the platform. Allowing medical students or residents in training to intercept feeds or view at a later date allows for secondary instruction and education. The Proximie platform, and similar applications, have the ability to improve multiple areas of healthcare.
At iMedicalApps.com, we have previously covered stories related to remote virtual assistance in performing medical procedures. Proximie has expanded on this application, bringing the technology to a wider population with the use of common mobile devices. The ability to use a tablet or smartphone with this platform facilitates the applicability of the technology.