Background Telemedicine holds promise for improving access to care. Telementoring—defined as mentoring by means of telecommunication and computer networks—can be used for remote education of healthcare professionals. Furthermore, it is rapidly establishing itself as a valuable asset in medicine and education. This paper aims to establish a financially and practically feasible, stable telementoring network using wearables for sterile and hands-free remote control, to be used during surgical procedures.
Methods Two stand-alone computer systems, located at an academic hospital in the Netherlands and at a surgical research facility in Spain, were connected using TeamViewer software allowing for remote, hands-free controlling of radiological images using Myo gesture control armband. The operating surgeon consulted the remote surgeon through an audio, video and desktop sharing system during a live surgical procedure on a single porcine model. The system was analysed for feasibility and connection quality.
Results The sensors used were commercially available and relatively cheap, with the integrating computer system being responsible for the majority of costs. A successful connection was established without any downtime and with only a minor time lag, not interfering with the telementoring procedures. The operating surgeon effectively consulted with and was mentored by the remote surgeon, through video, audio and the desktop sharing system, using the wearable sensors.
Conclusions This proof of principle shows the feasibility of using an internet-based remote desktop sharing system in combination with wearable sensors and TedCube technology for telementoring purposes during surgical procedures.
- remote consultation
- user-computer interface
- computer-assisted surgery
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Contributors HAWM contributed to the planning, set-up and execution of the study at the Academic Medical Center in Amsterdam, the Netherlands. She assisted the mentoring surgeon (MPS) during the procedure and contributed to the writing of this manuscript. JASM was involved in the planning and set-up of this study. He assisted the remote surgeon (FMSM) during the procedure, prepared the set-up of the computers and sensors at the remote location and contributed to the writing of this manuscript. FMSM was the operating surgeon at the Jesús Usón Minimally Invasive Surgery Center in Cáceres, Spain. He was involved in the planning, set-up and execution of the study. JCG was involved in the planning of the study, data analysis and contributed to the evaluation and writing of the manuscript. MPS was the mentoring surgeon at the Academic Medical Center in Amsterdam, the Netherlands. She was involved in the planning, set-up and execution of the study, as well as the evaluation and data analysis, and she contributed to the writing of the manuscript.
Funding The salary of HAWM is funded by the Growing Games Program (Dutch Game Garden, iMMovator, Dutch Games Association and the Economic Board Utrecht), grant no CB00018 and by a grant from the CZ Fund, The Netherlands. JASM, FMSM, JCG and MPS have no financial ties to disclose.
Competing interests None declared.
Patient consent Detail has been removed from this case description/these case descriptions to ensure anonymity. The editors and reviewers have seen the detailed information available and are satisfied that the information backs up the case the authors are making.
Provenance and peer review Not commissioned; externally peer reviewed.
Data sharing statement This feasibility study has no additional unpublished data available. All data generated by this study have been reported in this manuscript.