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Claron Announces Innovative Tele-Mentoring System for Image Guided Surgeries

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Healthcare IT news Innovative TeleSync to Help BrainsGate Systems Train Surgeons on New Ischemic Stroke Platform

September 12, 2012, Toronto—Claron Technology announces release of an innovative tele-mentoring system co-developed by Claron and BrainsGate that provides simultaneous display of image guided surgeries onsite and in a remote location to enable remote surgical guidance.  Representing a significant technological breakthrough, the new BrainsGate GuideView TeleSync system was specially designed to overcome the limitations of low OR bandwidth to communicate video remotely over a network as it appears on the local navigational display.

Physicians unfamiliar with advanced new medical procedures--especially those involving innovative technologies such as BrainsGate’s groundbreaking ischemic stroke system--benefit significantly from real-time support by experienced physicians. By supporting remote surgical instruction and guidance, BrainsGate enables physicians anywhere to learn from the expertise of experienced users and become proficient in performing the procedure. Additionally, with medical experts on-call to consult on the procedure as needed, the innovative guidance system will enhance post-training physician confidence and promote increased use of the system and potentially lifesaving surgical technique.

According to Zami Yerushalmy, Executive for Claron Technologies, the new tele-mentoring system solves a common IT problem in the operating room (OR). “The typically low bandwidth connection of the hospital OR results in long delays in information display on remote workstations when using a desktop image sharing application, making these systems problematic for tele-mentoring where  real-time feedback is crucial,” he explains. “Moreover, desktop applications typically use compression technology to speed data transfer, significantly degrading image quality.”

To provide built-in tele-mentoring support for its new image-guided ischemic stroke platform, BrainsGate collaborated with Claron to overcome these problems and create a flexible, easy-to-implement solution.

“Our new SPG cerebral vasodilatation stroke treatment involves minimally invasive implantation of a neuro-stimulator.  It is an exacting procedure with a significant learning curve,” comments Srulik Dvorsky, R&D Manager for BrainsGate.  “Studies have shown that surgeons learning the procedure performed it faster and with significantly more success with real-time mentoring support. This support, however, demands precise synchronization between the local and remote workstations so that the mentor and OR physician share the same visual representation in real time and can work interactively to master new techniques and optimize the results. The advantage of the TeleSync system is its ability to transfer large amounts of information in real time, an ability which standard remote desktop applications lack.”

In the new Claron-BrainsGate solution, both the OR and remote mentor workstations actually run the same image guidance application locally—it is not shared over the Internet similarly to a desktop sharing application. Prior to the start of a mentoring session, the TeleSync system synchronizes the two workstations by transmitting all large volumetric imaging data.  Following this, to minimize data transfer volume and optimize display time, the system transmits only ongoing changes.  This information triggers the update to the remote screen locally in near real-time—almost as the computations are made to update the local screen itself.

Under the guidance of the system’s artificial intelligence, video updates of the surgical field are communicated at a compression level and frequency determined by the available bandwidth as well as the clinical usefulness of these images at the specific stage in the operation.

“The result,” according to Srulik Dvorsky, “is that a greater number of physicians can be trained in use of the system, regardless of their physical location, and patients anywhere can benefit from more advanced, immediate stroke treatment when seconds count.”

The new BrainsGate TeleSync system consists of multiple computers communicating over a digital network, usually the Internet. They include one or more local surgical guidance workstations at the healthcare institutions, one or more remote mentoring workstations, and a collaboration server. The workstations' connection to the Internet is typically controlled by firewall routers which prevent the workstations from being accessed by programs running outside the institution. To solve this problem, the collaboration server is set up to be accessible by programs running on all the other computers.

In addition to typical peripherals such as a display and input devices, the local workstation is outfitted with an optical or electromagnetic tracker to sense the position of the patient anatomy and the surgical instruments as well as video cameras to capture the surgical field. Offering easy and flexible set-up, the remote mentoring workstation is typically a standard PC with no special peripherals.

TeleSync was created to support immediate use for virtual training and support of physicians at more than 70 sites worldwide that are participating in a pivotal clinical trial for the BrainsGate SPG implant device and image-guided implant procedure.   This virtual training eliminates the need for BrainsGate personnel to travel onsite to provide instruction and allows maximum flexibility in the timing of training sessions.

Already, the benefits of tele-mentoring in SPG procedures have been demonstrated by comparison of early surgeries performed without real-time assistance and those performed later with virtual mentors using a simple screen sharing system.  However, a more recent comparison with virtual collaborations using the new Guide View TeleSync system found that TeleSync’s superior training experience was far more beneficial for surgical performance.

About Claron Technology, Inc

Claron is dedicated to the application of image processing, image sharing and image distribution in medicine. It has extensive experience in developing systems that help clinicians identify anatomy and tissues of interest, visualize and analyze them, and securely distribute them on a variety of different platforms from desktop to smartphones. Claron helps healthcare vendors, ranging from young start-ups to giant device and IT vendors such as Philips, McKesson and Medtronic, deliver more value to their clinical customers faster by incorporating its technology into their products. Claron's technology is licensed in a range of formats, including low-level modules, platforms, sub-systems, applications and custom engineered exclusive solutions. For more details, visit www.clarontech.com.

About BrainsGate Systems

BrainsGate is a medical device company committed to developing a novel treatment modality, electrical SPG stimulation. This platform technology has been shown to increase blood flow to the brain and as a result has broad potential for treating central nervous system disorders. BrainsGate is currently focusing on improving the outcome of patients suffering from ischemic stroke, in a 24 hour window after onset of symptoms. For more details, visit www.brainsgate.com.

Media Contact:

Jeanne-Marie Phillips

HealthFlash marketing

203-363-0347

jphillips@healthflashmarketing.com

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