From Space Tech to 5G: Connectivity is the holy grail

Looking ahead to the future of healthcare, it’s clear that the better connected we are, the easier it will be to implement technology across the globe, and help to save lives.

By Dr Nadine Hachach-Haram, Founder and CEO of Proximie.

If I can’t sleep I’ll often dive into the Proximie platform to view archived cases. It’s one of the few places I can lose myself in. Although I spend my life talking about Proximie, the library of surgeries within our platform is the real evidence and impact of what we do.

Two nights ago I watched back a procedure that happened between Benin and Eastbourne. It was one of the cases we invited journalist Jennifer Rigby to virtually attend. I still get such a buzz out of watching surgeons collaborate. The magic of the operating room; the patient, the clinical team supporting each other like a well oiled machine (most of the time!); it’s like an orchestra and it still impacts me.

Looking through Proximie, it’s amazing to see the breadth of procedures and the global footprint of what we’re doing. It makes me very proud. We’re operating in over 35 countries, working with partners in Europe, North America, The Middle East, Asia, and Latin America. We have facilitated and, subsequently, archived surgeries in orthopaedics, cardiology, general surgery, neurosurgery, oncology, bariatrics and more. The innovative ways physicians are harnessing our platform to support their patients never ceases to amaze me. Yet in this space, we know we can’t be static and we’re always looking at new and innovative ways to better serve our surgical community.

One area of perpetual focus is connectivity. According to The Lancet Commission, five billion people lack access to safe surgery. That’s two-thirds of the world’s population. Connectivity is a central theme to everything we do at Proximie.

“If you can solve the global connectivity issue, we know we can redress the inequities in healthcare that exist all over the world.”

Today people die unnecessarily without access to simple surgery; in both developing and developed nations. By solving the issues that can compromise a surgery in any area of the world, such as not being able to access the right clinical skills or the right equipment, we can help to ensure that the 300 million plus surgeries that happen each year, can be delivered in a consistent way, and in a way that helps to save lives.

Collectively, we must increase our capacity to deliver better care, quicker and further than ever before. I believe we are just starting to scratch the surface of what is achievable. We have held interesting discussions with major players from other sectors, including those in telecommunications and Space Technology, to better understand how they are innovating and accelerating the connectivity conversation. In healthcare too often things are siloed; good ideas, as much as surgical expertise. One of our major aspirations as a business is to bring in the best thinking from other industries, to support us on our mission.

There is no question that 5G is going to play a huge role in creating better connected healthcare systems. If fostered correctly it will ensure the best technologies and innovations are made more freely accessible to patients all over the world. 5G connectivity will also be harnessed to manage and monitor the petabytes of patient data, and used to continually improve patient outcomes. This will move us towards a more preventative model of healthcare. Making even low latency a thing of the past.

Bringing space technology into healthcare is not a new phenomenon; from infant formulas to robotic surgery, space research has played a formative role in a number of healthcare innovations since the 1980s. It’s now helping to shape the global connectivity conversation. Low orbiting satellites, for example, are going to ensure that even the most remote location on the planet is suddenly back on the grid.

“We believe Proximie is perfectly positioned to harness the powers of connectivity technologies, and channel them directly into operating rooms all over the world.”

To empower physicians with real-time insights and data, and enable them to create better patient experiences. The ingredients for better connected healthcare systems are right in front of us. It’s incumbent on us, as one of the players in this field, to try and accelerate these conversations and to play a proactive role in finding innovative ways to democratise access to safe surgery, reduce variation in care and, ultimately, save lives.

The oil for everyone’s engine is better connectivity. It’s time we all worked together to accelerate that. It’s healthcare’s holy grail.



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