Proximie, Vodafone trial 5G powered remotely assisted surgery

5G Innovations

The team at Cardiff and Vale University Health Board is trialling the use of Proximie, a global technology platform that allows clinicians and surgeons to ‘scrub in’ to any operating room or catheterisation (cath) lab virtually from anywhere in the world, with Vodafone 5G, for remote assisted support and training in the University Hospital of Wales, Cardiff and University Hospital Llandough.

Proximie’s technology is being used in surgery, and to provide colonoscopy training to nurses so more patients can be seen in a shorter time. It will also ensure a high quality service by connecting experts from further afield into each procedure room to support patient care.

Proximie enables clinicians to transport themselves virtually into operating rooms, cath labs and hospitals – anywhere in the world – to interact visually, engage and guide procedures. Proximie’s platform combines the best human expertise with the power of advanced technologies including augmented reality (AR) and artificial intelligence (AI).

5G in the UK

By empowering clinicians to share their skills in real-time, Proximie can reduce variation in care and ensure every patient receives the best healthcare every single time, with the ultimate goal to save lives by sharing the world’s best clinical practices.

The trial is using Vodafone’s 5G in-building coverage system to power Proximie’s platform, and the technology will be used to carry out training remotely, which is particularly vital due to the COVID-19 restrictions. Proximie’s platform connects nurses in Cardiff to remotely located expert consultants who can oversee specialist procedures.

Immersive experience

Proximie’s innovative technology also creates an immersive, multi-dimensional experience and optimises collaboration. It enables participants to interact with what the surgeons see in the room: their hands can be superimposed on the video feed of the patient’s anatomy to give precise directives during the operation, and they can overlay notes, sketches and anatomical diagrams for reference.

Nadine Haram (BEM), founder and chief executive of Proximie, said: “We’re always looking for ways to make our platform better for our clinicians around the world, and connectivity moving forward will be the key driver.

“If we can increase connectivity, make it faster, and more seamless, we can ultimately save more lives by connecting more clinicians across the globe. We are excited to be working on this innovative pilot with Vodafone at Cardiff and Vale University Health Board, together with investment from UK Innovation & Research.

“We’re hoping it will lead to a better connected future for clinicians in cancer care, and ultimately lead to more lives saved.”

Len Richards, CEO, Cardiff and Vale University Health Board, said: “The importance of connectivity can’t be understated as we enter this new age of healthcare, providing an important platform from which we can explore exciting clinical innovations such as this to improve outcomes for our patients.

“I would commend the ingenuity and dedication shown by clinicians throughout Cardiff and Vale UHB who, despite the challenges they have faced during the COVID-19 pandemic, have worked with partners such as Vodafone and Proximie not only to continue delivering services, but to enhance them.”

Professor Jared Torkington, Clinical Lead for Bowel Cancer in Wales, said: “We live in an unprecedented time of new surgical innovations with new technologies. In times of COVID-19, using this augmented reality-based platform will enable remote support and consultation in real-time from potentially anywhere in the world and enhance training opportunities, all while helping us to minimise the number of people in our hospitals to facilitate social distancing.”

Anne Sheehan, Director, Vodafone Business UK, said: “Society will undoubtedly benefit from 5G, and this is a direct example of how digital technologies can revolutionise the healthcare industry. The clinicians of tomorrow can benefit from the experience and insight of colleagues wherever they are located and this will only lead to a better standard of healthcare.

“We are delighted to be working together with Proximie and Cardiff and Vale University Health Board to show the amazing things that can be achieved with the power of connectivity.”

This pilot follows the news that Coventry University is using Vodafone’s 5G standalone network to pilot state-of-the-art virtual reality learning technologies and support training for student nurses and allied health professionals.