Virtual ‘scrub-in’ software rolled out in Kenya
AI, machine learning and augmented reality-based technology platform Proximie has teamed up with global non-profit organisation and Johns Hopkins University affiliate Jhpiego, on a safe surgery project in Kenya to layer in their unique software that allows physicians anywhere in the world to virtually ‘scrub-in’ and mentor colleagues in real time.
Proximie has offered its technology to Jhpiego, to improve obstetric surgical care for women by expanding and enhancing the learning and mentorship in Jhpiego’s Obstetric Safe Surgery project now underway in five hospitals in Makueni County.
The goal of the 22-month project is to support the government of Kenya’s commitment to reduce maternal and newborn deaths and obstetric-related injuries by improving the quality of caesarean sections. Seventy-one percent of facility-based maternal deaths in Kenya are associated with caesarean sections, and 9 out of 10 maternal deaths are linked to a lack of quality standardised care.
Funded by Johnson & Johnson, the Jhpiego-led project is grounded in a health-systems approach, leveraging local expertise to build networks of care to deliver safe and timely surgical obstetric care. The Proximie platform offers the prospect of enhanced and expanded learning by obstetric surgical teams.
Supporting the design and evaluation of the enhanced OSS project is Ariadne Labs, a joint centre for health systems innovation at Brigham and Women’s Hospital, and the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health.
Dr Doris Mbithi, Medical Superintendent of the Mother and Child Hospital in Makueni County and a partner on the OSS project, said the Jhpiego-Proximie alliance will help surgeons perfect their skills and address issues that arise.
“Sometimes things happen in the (operating) theatre and not all team members remember the process,” she said. “With the recordings, we can identify gaps and rectify. I am also happy that at night, I have the possibility to support remotely, either at my hospital or to help keep a potential referral at the sub county hospital by consulting remotely."
Dr John Varallo, Global Director Safe Surgery at Jhpiego, said the partnership can increase the impact realised thus far: “By offering real-time, remote surgical consultation, this project has the true potential of being a game-changer in improving the safety and quality of surgical care in Kenya, and in other countries where Jhpiego works. Collaborating with innovative thought leaders at Proximie and Ariadne Labs, and continuing to work in close partnership with the government of Kenya and the surgical teams on the ground, our true champions of the Obstetric Safe Surgery work, we have the opportunity to amplify the progress made in surgical safety and quality to date.”
Dr Nadine Hachach-Haram, CEO of Proximie, said she founded Proximie “on the ethos that shared knowledge leads to accelerated learning and better patient care,” and the Obstetric Safe Surgery project embodies that.
“Our work with the local surgical teams on the ground in Kenya, and with Jhpiego, and Ariadne Labs, is going to help democratise access to important caesarean section surgical techniques and knowledge that would otherwise be siloed due to geography or time,” Hachach-Haram said.
“Proximie is going to be harnessed pre, intra and postoperatively in order to ensure women and their babies have access to high-quality care, at a critical time. I have always believed that collaboration is the cornerstone of driving meaningful change in healthcare and the Obstetric Safe Surgery project will not just help to reduce maternal and neonatal mortality, but hopefully provide a blueprint for others to follow.”
A leader in healthcare innovation and implementation, Ariadne Labs has experience in designing and building in-country capacity and expertise to implement digital innovations which will be leveraged to inform critical discussions on sustainable digital health throughout Kenya, and beyond.
"We're pleased to collaborate with Proximie and Jhpiego to leverage our experience in public health, frontline clinical care, and human-centred design to improve the quality of surgical care that women and their newborns receive as well as enhance the clinician experience," said Katherine Semrau, PhD, MPH, Principal Investigator and Director of Ariadne Labs' BetterBirth program. "Our aim at Ariadne Labs is to reduce suffering and save lives for people everywhere -- whether in Boston, Nairobi, or Lucknow -- by developing scalable, systems-level solutions. We look forward to supporting the measurement and evaluation of this work, to ultimately improve the interventions and their implementation."