Surgimap Spine Promotes Time Savings and Greater Effectiveness for Spine Surgeons

Written by  Laura Dyrda | Thursday, 20 October 2011 01:01
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When presented with imaging tools that were not user-friendly for spine surgeons, Frank Schwab, MD, and his colleagues decided to tackle the problem head-on. Their pragmatic approach to solving their problem includes partnering with business leaders, software experts and programmers to develop Surgimap Spine, a physician-driven imaging solution designed for spine surgeons that makes their case as portable as a USB key.
"We all came together to create a portable software that would open any image format including DICOMs on patient CD's," says Dr. Schwab. "Now surgeons can have the imaging studies available to work on the case from anywhere without a network connection."

The program includes an image viewer that can open all formats of images, an automated and encrypted database for image organization and analysis as well as a measurement interface designed for easy use by surgeons. All of these capabilities provide significant time savings across daily clinical practice tasks.

The program

The program allows spine surgeons to view specific images and preplan surgeries. Surgeons can make spine and pelvic measurements on the images and simulate the procedure beforehand. Surgeons can also mark up and export these images for presentations.

The software is password protected and all information is encrypted, which addresses HIPAA concerns. Surgeons can download the software for free from the company's website, which currently has more than 1,000 active spine surgeon users.

"It's helping surgeons most by simplifying their work with medical images and making it more efficient to use these images in their practices," Dr. Schwab says. "We have powerful tools to simulate procedures and quantify implant sizes e.g., screws and cages. With this technology, surgeons can plan surgeries better, which will lead to better outcomes for their patients."

The software recently received approval from the Food and Drug Administration as well as the CE mark and TGA stamp of approval.

Plans for the future

Dr. Schwab and his colleagues have been surprised at how quickly spine and neurosurgeons have embraced their program, and are now seeking to expand the company by creating a program for joint replacement.

"In a short amount of time, we have gotten more than 1,000 surgeons to use the program," he says. "Surgeon feedback and appreciation for the significant time saving tools has been overwhelming. I think we are going to see pretty rapid growth, especially as we expand into orthopedics. Surgeons need to be more efficient and effective, and they need new technology to do that. We also need to be more accountable for how we work with our patients and how we preplan surgery."

The company currently has a distributing agreement with Johnson & Johnson and is training surgeons worldwide on their program.

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