Proximie is a new augmented reality (AR) telehealth solution that is enabling surgeons to provide expert surgical assistance from any location in the world via any two connected iPhones or iPads.
The Proximie platform was developed as a solution to the critical global shortage of healthcare professionals, which is especially notable in under-resourced regions and war-torn territories like the Gaza Strip.
Through the cloud-based AR solution, surgeons can use Proximie to demonstrate from a safe location what actions need to be taken in real-time through an iOS mobile device.
“I see on my screen the surgical feed that is being captured by the camera in Gaza and I’m able to draw on my screen the incision that needs to be done,” said Head of Plastic Surgery at American University of Beirut Medical Center, Dr Ghassan Abu-Sitta during an interview with CNN.
Dr Abu-Sitta has used Proximie twice so far, leading surgical operations that took place in the Gaza Strip from Beirut, Lebanon.
“That drawing shows up on my colleague’s screen in Gaza and he follows my drawings by making the incisions where they appear on the screen,” said Dr Abu-Sitta.
In the past, Dr Abu-Sitta and his staff attempted to assist their distant surgical colleagues by sending photos, X-ray images and audio recordings over the internet messenger WhatsApp. Proximie has superseded this by providing all the necessary functions in an interactive way, with detailed images and patient information available whenever needed.
“We wanted to push the idea that with only the minimum hardware, and minimum infrastructure you can still pull it off,” said Abu-Sitta.
“With just two tablets, iPad to iPad, we’re able to perform this surgery,” continued Abu-Sitta.
Proximie also has significant potential as a surgical training aid, as medical students can now observe a live operation in progress from any connected iPad or iPhone.
“We want to be the platform for medical students to really engage in surgery,” said Proximie Co-founder, Professor Nadine Hachach-Haram.
“Surgery is very visual. You can read it in a book if you want but it’s not the same as watching it live, so this is where our platform really fits in,” concluded Professor Hachach-Haram.