Todd Usen, CEO, Activ Surgical
Artificial intelligence’s (AI) transformative power is reverberating across many industries, but its impact on healthcare could be more profound and far-reaching than in any other field. A recent study by Frost & Sullivan suggests that using AI and analytics in conventional operating rooms will help hospitals address inefficiencies and clinical challenges physicians face when performing surgery. Having an AI or analytics solution supporting surgeons only enhances their skill set further, which translates to improved patient outcomes, fewer complications and readmissions, and significantly reduced healthcare costs. With telemedicine and remote surgery rising to prominence, AI and data-driven technologies are at the helm of driving innovation within the healthcare realm. Enter Activ Surgical.
With AI at the core, Activ Surgical builds hardware-agnostic surgical software enabling minimally invasive surgical systems (laparoscopes, arthroscopes, and robots) to collaborate with surgeons autonomously. On a mission to enable real-time and best-in-class surgery for everyone, the company has introduced a revolutionary surgical intelligence platform—ActivEdge™—that empowers surgeons to make better-informed decisions, improve patient outcomes, and provide savings to healthcare systems.
ActivSurgical's first product, ActivSight—a next-gen imaging module—augments any installed visualization system with real-time, intra-operative visual data and images previously invisible to surgeons. "ActivSightcan fit into any system, whether a scope or a robot, intra-operatively to deliver key insights to physicians, "says Todd Usen, CEO at Activ Surgical. ActivSight's overlay technology provides a visual map to the surgical field, making previously invisible functions and critical structures visible to surgeons in a cost-effective and real-time manner. ActivSight is expected to receive its FDA approval and 510(k) clearance at the end of this quarter or early next quarter. The product has already been utilized in 22 successful surgeries in the U.S. and offers multiple benefits to physicians.
ActivInsight, the company's second product, is an AI and machine learning-based product, which will be designed for continuous improvement and will be underpinned by one of the industry's largest annotated data sets to be developed by Activ Surgical. As a novel annotation platform, ActivInsight will drastically reduce the time taken for video annotations with an autonomous annotation algorithm, making them nearly 20,000 times faster than traditional surgical video annotation methods.
With ActivInsight's automated annotation technology, we will be able to annotate an hour-long surgical video in 10 minutes (3 milliseconds per frame)
"There are nearly 216,000 frames in an hour-long surgical video, which are processed at 10 minutes per frame through traditional annotation methods. With ActivInsight's automated annotation technology, we will be able to annotate an hour-long surgical video in 10 minutes (3 milliseconds per frame)," explains Usen. As such, ActivInsight can transform massive amounts of data gathered intra-operatively to help characterize tissue and critical structures, providing surgeons with augmented visuals and real-time guidance.
With its ActivEdge platform, the company aims to build the world's first networked surgical platform powered by cloud compute. With the help of ActivSight and ActivInsight, surgeons across the globe can provide insights into multiple procedures in real-time through crowdsourced network data. "The COVID-19 pandemic has redefined the urgency and demand for telehealth and telemedicine, and consequently, expedited the development of the same. Today, a surgeon in the U.S. can assist a physician performing a procedure anywhere in the world through telemedicine or telesurgery. They can guide the physician to identify critical structures, instructing where to cut and where not to cut, what to avoid, what not to avoid, and so forth," adds Usen.
Activ Surgical has signed a data retrieval and data research contract with one of Asia's largest healthcare systems, Apollo Hospitals, to annotate surgical datasets. Activ Surgical has also signed agreements with Microsoft, Qualcomm, and Nvidia. As a member of the "Microsoft for Startups" program, Activ Surgical will have exclusive access to Microsoft's technologies, including Azure, to optimize the storage model. The company is also working with Nvidia to optimize its inference models and Qualcomm for the immediate use of 5G integration and GPU accelerators. Usen notes, "The new contracts have come at an opportune moment for us as we have opened our European headquarters with a full European advisory board comprising world renowned physicians. We are also expecting to receive the CE certification for our products around July this year," says Usen.
With 100+ years of med-tech experience, ActivSurgical's team is deeply committed to medical innovation. As AI continues to expand its reach in the healthcare sector, Activ Surgical is developing its platforms and products to provide physicians with insights and crowdsourced detail intra-operatively in real-time. "The future is data dependent, and we want to be recognized as a revolutionary company that delivers unprecedented insights to improve outcomes in the field of medicine," remarks Usen.