5. Enabling interventional physicians to learn without having to leave their lab
Interventional physicians, who perform image-guided minimally invasive procedures, have also started to explore the use of virtual collaboration platforms to continue providing peer-to-peer education – even when they can’t be in the same room because of COVID-related travel restrictions.
In-depth knowledge of new and highly specialized interventional procedures can be limited to a small pool of physicians. Normally, these experts would be physically present in an interventional room to offer a less experienced user on-the-job training. Through virtual collaboration, they can look over their peer’s shoulder via webcams mounted on the ceiling of the interventional room. Similarly, technical experts – who know all the ins and outs of a specific treatment device or interventional system – can be called in for remote support before, during, and after procedures.
Although it’s still early days and further testing remains to be done, first experiences with this type of cloud-based collaboration have been highly encouraging. For example, one study showed how an expert physician in Canada successfully supervised the first US use of a new type of implant to treat aneurysms in the brain, through bidirectional audiovisual streaming, and with images being shared in a de-identified, HIPAA-compliant manner . In the future, one can imagine wider use of such tools for the rapid dissemination of knowledge – with expert interventional physicians dictating, annotating, and securely sharing their own educational videos.