Press Release  | 

Barcelona hosts the first 5G tele-mentored surgery

  • The surgery took place at the Hospital Clínic of Barcelona, tele-mentored in real time from an auditorium at the GSMA’s MWC19 Barcelona through Telestration, an AIS Channel solution that enables an expert surgeon in real time to guide other surgeons based in a remote surgery room

  • The Hospital Clínic of Barcelona is the first 5G hospital in the country to provide this through the integration of the 5G network developed by Vodafone and integrated in AIS Channel Telestration solution

  • The project is part of 5G Barcelona, an initiative by the Government of Catalonia, the Barcelona City Council, Mobile World Capital Barcelona, the i2CAT Foundation, the Technological Center of Telecommunications of Catalonia (CTTC), Atos and the Polytechnic University of Catalonia (UPC), with the objective to transform the city of Barcelona into a European reference hub for 5G digital technology

Barcelona, 27 February 2019 - The first tele-mentored live surgery using 5G technology was carried out today in Barcelona by Dr Antonio de Lacy. The pilot test took place at the GSMA’s MWC19 Barcelona and the Hospital Clínic where, thanks to AIS Channel software, a 5G streaming of live surgery between the medical team located in the hospital and the expert doctor located in an auditorium of the MWC19 venue in Fira Gran Via was enabled in real time.

The '5G remote surgeon' pilot project, developed by AIS Channel, Hospital Clínic and Vodafone, is part of 5G Barcelona, ​​an initiative promoted by the Generalitat de Catalunya, Barcelona City Council, Mobile World Capital Barcelona, the i2CAT Foundation, the Technological Center of Telecommunications of Catalonia (CTTC), Atos, and the Polytechnic University of Catalonia (UPC) with the aim of transforming Barcelona into a European reference for 5G. In addition, 5G Barcelona is supported by the GSMA who represent the interests of mobile operators worldwide.

A medical revolution

From the MWC19 venue, a medical team led by Dr. Antonio de Lacy, head of the Gastrointestinal Surgery Service at the Hospital Clínic and promoter of the 'telestration' solution, guided the surgery performed in the Óptimus surgery room, the most advanced in the world, located in the Hospital Clínic of Barcelona. With Vodafone’s 5G network, this pioneering surgery room not only records surgeries from all possible angles, but can also stream that information outside the operating room in real time. This process is possible with the Telestration solution created by AIS Channel, the world's leading online platform for medical education and a pioneer in tele-training for surgeons.

Today’s procedure represents a breakthrough for the health sector and opens new paths in clinical practice. 5G-powered tele-training with expert surgeons, can improve surgical practices by enabling real-time knowledge transfer to surgeons in training. Additionally, expert surgeons and their teams can monitor procedures remotely, meaning the latest medical knowledge and advances in surgery can reach even the most remote operating rooms, thanks to the AIS Channel solution.

During the presentation of the pilot test, Dr. Antonio de Lacy remarked that "the possibility of remotely connecting operating rooms and surgeons is another step in AIS Channel's mission to democratize medical education worldwide, with the enormous social and heathcare benefits that this entails. No matter who you are or what economic possibilities you have, the most important is to provide the best possible healthcare to all patients".

Rod Menchaca, CEO of AIS Channel, mentioned: "Surgery has advanced more in the last 15 years than in the past 150 years and it is almost impossible to keep up. Someone must take on the challenge of making these advances reach all corners of the planet in real time and what better than in the hands of the best world surgeons. From AIS Channel we accept, from Barcelona and without any complexes, the challenge of rewriting the rules of surgical training through the delivery of quality remote education combining the best of two worlds: the technological and the medical in favour of the transfer of knowledge".

Dr. Josep Maria Campistol, CEO of the Hospital Clínic, has stressed that "this surgical intervention marks a before and after in the world of medicine. The Hospital Clínic has always opted for technological innovation and it is a pride that our hospital is the first in our country to have 5G technology. We have started with remote surgery and we are convinced that 5G, a faster and safer technology, will help us in the remote control of different situations that will facilitate the day to day of healthcare professionals and patients and will allow us to develop new projects that will be of great interest to society".

John Hoffman, CEO GSMA Ltd., stated, “In the future 5G technology will make it possible to synchronise all the necessary devices to permit the simultaneous connection of different specialists around the world and improve the conditions of any type of surgical operation. This pilot is further proof that the tech industry is diversifying into new sectors, becoming increasingly more relevant. Technology is key to healthcare as we intelligently connect everyone and everything to a better future”.

5G is the key

The '5G connected surgeon' project almost eliminates the problem of latency, a critical factor in applied technological solutions in the health sector. By leveraging the benefits of 5G such as ultra high definition capabilities, high bandwidth and real-time responsiveness, high definition images and large amounts of information can be shared without latency. This enables the instant connection to specialists from all over the world and enables them to collaborate in real time while performing surgical operations, marking a turning point in the field of healthcare technology.

Julia Velasco, head of Network Deployment and Optimisation at Vodafone Spain, highlighted that "what we have experienced here today is a perfect example of all the potential that 5G can develop in society. We are proud to share our 5G network in Barcelona and to demonstrate our clear and determined commitment to lead the development of this technology".

During the ceremony, MWCapital CEO Carlos Grau explained “How 5G Barcelona convened the best partners in the medical and technological fields such as Vodafone, Hospital Clinic and AIS Channel to develop this pioneering healthcare initiative. A common goal and a shared strategy were essential in achieving this pilot, as well as a renewed sense of hope to continue such initiatives in Barcelona”.