Collaborating on the cloud: A healthtech platform that makes surgery safer

Collaborating on the cloud: A healthtech platform that makes surgery safer

Imagine you’re a surgeon, and you’re about to perform a complex operation you’ve never had to do in real-life practice before. There’s only one other surgeon in the country who has experience of this operation, but they’re miles away – they can’t be in the room with you. 

But using technology, you can get them in the room. They can monitor your progress as you go, offer guidance, and reassure you as you move through each step of the surgery. Not only do you have more confidence, but your patient is safer – because both you and they are benefitting from the support of an expert. 

Proximie is a cloud-based video collaboration platform for hospital operating rooms and interventional suites – enabling surgeons and healthcare professionals to remotely observe, collaborate, train, and assist each other with procedures. 

Created by Dr. Nadine Hachach-Haram (Founder of Proximie), the platform offers a digital solution to a very physical problem: that more than five billion people around the world don’t have access to safe surgery. 

We asked Hachach-Haram about the inspiration behind her work, and the challenges she’s faced in bringing Proximie to market. 

What inspired you to found Proximie? 

“I grew up in post-war Lebanon and during this period, I saw first-hand the importance of surgical care – but also the impact a lack of surgical availability has on patients. 

“Later, throughout my career, I spent years working on global health initiatives in the Middle East and other regions to help build sustainable health models, providing surgical expertise in areas where it was lacking. 

“This is what spurred me to create Proximie and build a network of operating rooms interconnected by the world's best surgeons, empowered by real-time diagnostics, data, and analysis, creating a far greater impact.  

“In essence, by drawing on my desire to improve global access to safe surgical care and my experience as a practising NHS surgeon, I created Proximie to address some of the most pressing issues in healthcare and realised the potential in integrating technologies within operating rooms (ORs). Notably, over five billion people – nearly two-thirds of the global population – lack access to safe surgery.” 

How could digitised operating rooms transform the potential for surgeons to learn and share knowledge? 

“Proximie’s cloud-based solution enables healthcare systems to obtain a complete view of an OR – in real-time or post-surgery – acting as a valuable training aid for surgeons and helping to reduce the elective backlog and pressures felt by reducing a workforce. Using platforms such as Proximie’s, healthcare systems are able to train twice as many surgeons in half the time.  

“Proximie’s content management capabilities allow surgeries to be easily recorded, edited, and shared, with all camera and medical device inputs from ORs captured within recordings. Recordings can then be accessed via Proximie’s cloud-based content library. Surgeons of all levels of experience can therefore share expertise remotely, assisting both training but also complex surgeries where local expertise may be lacking.  

“In the UK, we are proud to have partnered with the Association of Surgeons in Training (ASiT), where all 3,500 members have access to Proximie – a vital source for training the next generation of surgeons.” 

What're the biggest challenges you've faced in bringing your platform to market? 

“I learnt it is imperative to narrow and deepen the impact of your business. You need to understand the pain point you are trying to solve and the market opportunity available. 

“At Proximie, we know five billion people don’t have access to safe surgery globally and the surgical workforce would have to double by 2030 to address this shortfall, so it is vital for us to address challenges related to patient safety, operating room efficiency and surgical training and education. We have seen in the UK’s NHS – where Proximie has been adopted to reduce nonclinical cancellations – a potential average efficiency saving of £1.24 million per trust per year.  

“Organisation in the early stages of a startup is vital. A scattered approach to healthcare innovation will not lead to quantifiable and quality results, creating long-term challenges for healthtechs. For example, I always knew data and security needed to be at the heart of our product. It’s why we made the decision early on to build Proximie’s products from the ground; all our own code. The benefits of doing that has meant the fundamentals are baked in from the offset.”

What advice would you give to someone in healthcare with a visionary idea, but who doesn't yet have the confidence to pursue it? 

“Don’t be afraid to ask for help and advice on your visionary idea. The power of networks is vital and the sooner you realise your blind spots and have people around to help coach, mentor and teach, the more confident you will be in your vision and what next steps you need to take.  

“It is also important to build a strong team around you – and follow your gut. I’m a big believer of trusting my instinct. For example, our last raise (Series C) came about earlier than we had planned because I had a sense it was the right time – and it worked.  

“Finally, the ‘fail fast’ ethos might sound cliche but it’s very useful. If you have a visionary idea, don't be afraid or put off by the initial hurdles; learn what you can, and keep going.”

Finally, could you describe your best experience at LEAP 2024? 

“There were so many! It was amazing to see the digital transformation which is currently taking place in the region and beyond. Without a doubt, innovation will keep throwing up new and wonderful concepts across healthcare in 2024 and in the future, and it was great to see this recognition at LEAP.” 

Thanks to Dr. Nadine Hachach-Haram at Proximie. Pre-register now to attend LEAP 2025 – immerse yourself in the future of technology. 

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