Transforming healthcare with data-driven surgery innovation

Proximie Founder and CEO Nadine Hachach-Haram, explains how data-driven surgery innovation can transform healthcare and reduce inequality

Proximie holds the world’s largest database of recorded surgeries, comprising 20,000 videos of operations. The company harnesses the power of these recordings by using data-driven technology to enhance healthcare performance, improve patient outcomes and revolutionise the way surgeries are conducted. 

“Our telepresence solution allows us to capture, upload and process information in real-time,” says Nadine Hachach-Haram is the Founder and CEO of Proximie. “It provides high-fidelity access to procedures, so operations can be remotely viewed from anywhere or used to scale training efforts.”

She adds that 95% of all the surgical sessions conducted with Proximie are recorded and uploaded onto our online library where they can be downloaded, shared and edited.

Hachach-Haram is also a practising NHS surgeon, lecturer and the Director of Clinical Innovation and Strategic Partnerships at Guy’s and St Thomas’s NHS Foundation Trust in London. 

“I founded Proximie in 2015, drawing on my desire to improve global access to safe surgical care by creating a solution which addresses some of the most pressing issues in healthcare,” says Hachach-Haram. “Over time Proximie’s mission has grown and the company now focuses on transforming the surgical system with software, data and technology, from the operating room to wider healthcare.”

Hachach-Haram has always been passionate about plastic and reconstructive surgery. 

“Having grown up in war-torn Lebanon, and later spending over ten years working on global health initiatives around the world, I witnessed first-hand the deep-rooted inefficiencies found across the global healthcare ecosystem.” 

This inspired her to create Proximie and fulfil her ambition to build a network of operating rooms interconnected by the world’s best surgeons, and empowered by real-time diagnostics, data and analysis. 

She says: “The challenge was building a working platform which could be deployed in developed countries. It had to be seamless, but with low bandwidth and accessible on everyday devices such as laptops, tablets and computers.”

The experience of recent years has also highlighted how much value Proximie can provide in developed markets – particularly with healthcare systems under pressure across the globe following the pandemic. 

Proximie’s power to share, store and generate insights from surgical expertise can be deployed exponentially and securely throughout the world, creating the potential to deliver a real and tangible shift towards the shared goal of improving health outcomes for all. It is currently being used across 20% of all NHS Trusts and working to cover more. 

Challenges to the global healthcare system

Universal access to safe, affordable surgical care is still a major issue. 

“5bn people do not have access to safe surgery,” says Hachach-Haram. “Continued co-operation and scaling of basic healthcare is a necessary step to improve global health.”

She sees patient safety and patient care as a major challenge: 

“Three in four patients in the UK about to undergo surgery are concerned about their safety. This safety crisis has been strained by the aftereffects of COVID-19 – and solutions, such as greater digitisation, are needed to reassure patients and mitigate pressures on surgeons.”

Demographic pressures and a growing global population are increasing the demand for surgeons worldwide. However, up to 60% of surgeons are due to leave the NHS in the next eight years – current estimates indicate there is a shortfall of over 2m surgeons. 

She says: “As surgical training can take up to 10 years, there is a pressing need for innovative solutions, such as content management platforms and augmented reality, to train the next generation and mitigate potential shortages.

“There are many solutions to this, with various opportunities in healthcare, from AI, telehealth and machine learning.”

Hachach-Haram adds: “We are seeing AI potential in healthcare and in particular, surgery and patient care. We use AI to provide data-rich summaries of procedures, track surgical instruments and generate patient reports. It has the potential to hugely improve healthcare simply by removing drudgery and scope for error, resulting in better healthcare for patients.”

AI can also be applied to necessary yet time-consuming administration tasks, especially in hospitals. If AI can perform even 20% of required administrative tasks, it would unlock a lot more time for nurses and doctors to focus on patients, increasing efficiency. 

“At Proximie, we can quickly use data analytics within hospitals to analyse turnover time, the time of procedure, instrument usage as well as general ways to increase productivity and eradicate potential obstacles,” says Hachach-Haram. 

“Similarly, new technologies can help to train new surgeons in a more efficient and seamless manner. Our cloud centric technology, for example, can train twice as many surgeons in half the time. In February, we partnered with the Association of Surgeons in Training (ASiT), enabling all 3,500 ASiT members to access the Proximie platform, providing a vital source for training the next generation of surgeons.”

Proximie is using technology and data to create an unparalleled ecosystem which improves healthcare systems and patient care before, during and after care. 

“Put simply, data saves lives.”

Solving inequalities in healthcare with data & AI

Inequity in surgical access is an ongoing global challenge. Today, too many people don’t have access to safe surgery, there are huge quality disparities and variations in surgical care, with impinged access currently accounting for approximately a third of all global deaths. 

Hachach-Haram says: “We must think creatively and differently about how to accelerate the learning curve. We recently announced a partnership with Guy’s and St Thomas’ (GSST) to launch the world’s first virtual training course in thoracic robotic-assisted surgery for overseas healthcare professionals who are not UK-registered. 

“We have also partnered with Jhpiego in Kenya, to digitally connect high-volume health facilities in Makueni County and ensure equitable access to timely and safe obstetric surgical care. Our platform further enables surgeons to scrub-in virtually, and critically increases mentorship and upskilling.” 

Sharing expertise globally will make a real difference in operating rooms and for patients, improving outcomes while making training more efficient and affordable. This is why Hachach-Haram knows that it is so important to embrace emerging technologies, which enable Proximie to do just that. 

“This will fundamentally democratise healthcare and raise the standards of surgery all over the world,” she says.

“Over the next 12 months, Proximie is focused on promoting the potential of data and generative AI, to improve the healthcare sector through continued partnerships and sales. 

“We have now conducted tens of thousands of surgical interactions and are available in over 800 hospitals in 50 countries. We have developed partnerships and contracts with over 40 major medical device companies and have access to 90% of operating rooms and diagnostic suites in the UK, US and EU.”

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