The COVID-19 pandemic has highlighted the need for remote learning in the healthcare sector. Global medtech firm Medtronic recently launched ILLUMISITE, an imaging tool that helps clinicians assess lung biopsies and CT scans.
Two assistant professors from the Medical College of Wisconsin, Dr Bryan S. Benn and Dr Jonathan S. Kurman, are currently using this technology via Explorer Live, a digital platform recently acquired by Global Healthcare Exchange (GHX). Here they explain the how these solutions are benefitting clinicians and patients.
How are digital tools such as Explorer Live supporting your work?
Kurman: We use Explorer Live to remotely broadcast our ILLUMISITE Platform procedures to physicians around the country who need training on this innovative technology. We also use it to broadcast to physicians and hospital administrators interested in purchasing the platform, so that more patients have access to this for diagnostic purposes.
This benefits us because we can expand the reach of our practice and hospital to more physicians around the country than the local Milwaukee area, without the need for travel.
How do they benefit the wider healthcare industry?
Benn: Explorer Live and the case broadcasts we perform enable more physicians to get up and running on the ILLUMISITE platform quicker and more efficiently. As a result, more patients have access for treatment who need navigational bronchoscopy and fluoroscopic navigation, which ultimately benefits the healthcare system around the country (and potentially, moving forward, the world).
It also serves to improve the learning curve for new physicians, getting them up to speed faster, and again enables them to treat more patients faster.
What challenges does remote observation pose compared to being in a classroom?
Benn: The case observations that we perform are so detailed that, along with the digital playbook of techniques embedded into Explorer Live, the educational experience is not really impacted. In fact, it may even be enhanced because now physicians can have a close-up view of everything that is happening in the procedure room (including the fluoroscopic imaging).
Previously, they would have to stand in the back of the procedure room without a great view of how we are actually performing the procedure.
How does it improve patient safety?
Kurman: The alternative to remote case observation is flying these physicians to Milwaukee and having them observe our procedures in person. While there is an element of “normalcy” from standing next to someone in the procedure room, Explorer Live’s remote case observations minimises the number of people who visit the hospital, helping to potentially decrease the risk of exposure.
Is technology such as this affordable?
Benn: Technology like Explorer Live creates inherent ROI for the medical device company (in our case Medtronic) partnering with them on these initiatives. For instance, it has saved hundreds of thousands of dollars already by minimising travel and related costs involved with in-person remote case observations.
For the device company, it also may serve as a sales accelerant, since hospital systems can gain introductions and make decisions on technology quicker by not having to factor in scheduling for travel.
Does this technology have the potential to reduce health inequities?
Kurman: With remote case observation, it truly puts the best practices of the ILLUMISITE Platform in the hands of any physician and hospital in the world who is interested in getting trained on it, in real-time. From that perspective, it democratises access to amazing technology so that patients around the world can get treated, no matter where they live.