In October 2019, Dr. Ryan Madder sat in front of a control panel in Waltham, MA, preparing for a robotic-assisted percutaneous coronary intervention (PCI) as he has done on countless occasions. Beyond the familiarity of the robotic controls and monitor with fluoroscopic images of the heart, this was anything but a typical procedure. While Dr. Madder sat outside Boston, he was about to attempt PCI on simulated patients located in New York and San Francisco.
“Speed of Thought” is a new documentary produced in partnership with Verizon that features innovators exploring new applications for 5G Ultra Wideband-enabled solutions and prominently features 5G’s impact on medical robotics. The film, which debuted at TechCrunch Disrupt on September 15, gives a behind-the-scenes look at Dr. Madder’s landmark multi-city, transcontinental PCI simulations utilizing the CorPath® GRX System with developmental remote technology.
During the simulations, he completed 36 cases in total over three network connection types – 5G wireless, dedicated fiber, and commercial public internet networks – and confirmed the wireless connections provided ample capability to complete the interventions effectively. By proving that Dr. Madder could open a blocked artery from the other side of the country, the Corindus technology passed a significant milestone in expanding the reach of remote robotic intervention, or telerobotics, to treat emergent conditions in parts of the world where no options currently exist.
After the premiere at Disrupt, Corindus COO Doug Teany joined a live panel of innovators featured in the documentary to discuss why they were interested in participating in the project and shed more light on how 5G is impacting their respective fields.
“I had referenced in the film this concept of the ‘economics of ideas’, which is looking at the combination and recombination of technologies to open up a new solution set,” Teany said. “That’s what originally drew us to the film. We thought about the power a robotics company could have with a telecommunications company, and if we ultimately want a remote robotic solution to work, we are dependent on a high-speed, low-latency, robust network to realize that vision.”
Cardiovascular disease is the most common cause of death in the world and represents an area of medicine in need of new treatment modalities. The low latency of 5G wireless distinguishes it from previous generations as a major disruptive force in treating heart attack and stroke patients. 5G may allow remote parts of the world to access highly specialized care from the best physicians and dramatically decrease patient time to treatment, which is a critical factor in mitigating morbidity and mortality in these patients.
“If I had one thing to ask viewers of the film to walk away with, it’s that telecommunications companies like Verizon are going to play a big role in the future of healthcare and it’s something to pay attention to,” Teany added.
The film opens with Dr. Madder readying the system for the procedures and communicating virtually with his technicians in each of the remote locations. The question Dr. Madder and the Corindus team are trying to answer: “Is it feasible to do remote interventional medicine from 200 miles, or even 3000 miles away?”
Prior to the successful transcontinental cases, Corindus had completed multiple simulated telerobotic PCI studies up to 100 miles away, as well as the world’s first-in-human telerobotic PCI procedures, performed in India by Dr. Tejas Patel from approximately 20 miles away.
The documentary highlights cutting-edge applications for 5G with the power to revolutionize industries beyond healthcare, including public safety, education and transportation. It also focuses on a 5G-powered mask that will allow firefighters to see through smoke and an augmented reality learning experience that immerses students in the history of civil rights.
The documentary is available on Amazon Prime Video, Fios on Demand and Peacock. For more information, visit SpeedofThoughtFilm.com.