Wednesday February 28th, 2018

Hospital Clínic, Mobile World Capital Barcelona and AIS Channel present the first technological operating theatre with remote assistance as part of 5GBarcelona

Hospital Clínic de Barcelona and Mobile World Capital Barcelona have presented today, as part of the GSMA Mobile World Congress, a pilot project that will make it possible to provide remote assistance for surgical procedures in real time. Josep M. Campistol, managing director of  Hospital Clínic de Barcelona, Carlos Grau, managing director of MWCapital, and Antonio de Lacy, head of the Gastrointestinal Surgery Deaprtment at Hospital Clínic de Barcelona and the founder of AIS Channel, took part in the event.The pilot project will be conducted in Optimus, the most advanced operating theatre in the world, which is located in Hospital Clínic de Barcelona. It is an integrated, robotic, and digital operating theatre that incorporates such technologies as big data and smart lighting. A solution is already being tests that audiovisually records all that happens in the operating theatre, from every possible angle, and sends this information live to the outside of the operating theatre. This proposal, implemented by AIS Channel, a company founded by Dr de Lacy, is the basis for remote assistance, that is, distance mentoring or assistance. Real remote mentoring based on 5G technology will enable a specialized surgeon to guide the surgeon in the operating theatre without being physically present and in real time.

5G, the key factor to make remote assistance real

The project has already been tested in a simulated real environment, as there are technological limitations that prevent its full development. The incorporation of 5G technology will make it possible to overcome these barriers and reduce the current 0.27 latency period to 0.01 seconds, a crucial time reduction in any surgical procedure. 5G will also make it possible to increase image quality and definition, a key factor for medical teams to take decisions with as much information as possible.

The first phase of the case of use will focus on testing remote assistance between the Hospital Clínic operating theatre and other facilities in the hospital. In a second phase, various Barcelona hospitals will collaborate. And in the third phase, the communication will take place between the hospital and a moving vehicle, i.e. an ambulance.

Remote assistance will be crucial for such a strategic sector as healthcare, as it will expand access to knowledge and medical specialization, and in the long term could entail universal, remote access to the best specialists in the world. This access could be all the more relevant when taking into account that 143 million surgical procedures are currently not performed across the globe due to a lack of knowledge of specific procedures, according to data given by The Lancet.

5GBarcelona, also strategic for the healthcare sector

The pilot project is part of a partnership agreement between Mobile World Capital Barcelona and Hospital Clínic de Barcelona to promote innovation in the healthcare industry involving 5G.

Hospital Clínic thus joins 5GBarcelona, an initiative promoted by the Regional Autonomous Government of Catalonia, the Barcelona City Council, Mobile World Capital Barcelona, the i2CAT Foundation, the Technological Centre for Telecommunications of Catalonia (CTTC), Atos, and the Catalonia Polytechnic University (UPC) to turn the city in to a 5G digital hub that will be a reference in Europe.

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