STAR network and Avail Medsystems partner to aid remote physician collaboration

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Avail Medsystems has announced that it has entered into a partnership with the Stroke Thrombectomy and Aneurysm Registry (STAR), led by Alejandro Spiotta (Medical University of South Carolina [MUSC], Charleston, USA), which will attempt to leverage the company’s surgical telepresence platform and facilitate real-time, interactive collaboration among physicians during live procedures.

STAR supports the global tracking and study of health outcomes after endovascular treatment for stroke, brain aneurysm, or other cerebrovascular diseases, with the goal of improving physicians’ precision in choosing effective therapies for patients with these conditions. Researchers at 94 participating institutions across the world use the registry data to publish papers describing new techniques, devices and expertise that have the potential to boost neurosurgical acumen and patient care, according to an Avail press release.

STAR principal investigator and co-founder Spiotta believes that physicians who share experiences with their colleagues are better prepared to improve their skills, adopt cutting-edge ideas, and help patients who previously would have been considered untreatable. Yet, collaboration typically requires travel, and for many physicians, the burdens of cost and time mean that these trips can only happen a few times a year.

“Sometimes, we just need to talk a procedure through with a peer or see someone else do it to know it is possible; that is how we push each other to improve,” said Spiotta. “The next generation of neuroendovascular surgeons is always smarter than the last because we learn from each other’s stories. Each story has a lesson—a new technique, new approach or novel strategy—that we can apply to help the next patient.

“Avail takes storytelling to the next level by allowing us to share live procedural experiences with any of our STAR collaborators in every corner of the world. It breaks down barriers and connects all of us in an international network to a degree that was not previously possible and will help propel the field forward as an experience and knowledge accelerator.”

To promote STAR members to engage in the collaboration and storytelling needed to advance neurological care, Spiotta decided to implement a technology that would allow STAR members to observe and collaborate during each other’s procedures and offer guidance any time—without leaving their own practices. He selected the Avail system because it allows surgeons immediate, on-demand connection, both within the STAR network and across Avail’s broader network of physicians and industry, at the touch of a button through high-definition video, two-way audio, and surgical imaging views, the release notes.

The partnership between Avail and STAR will facilitate implementation of the Avail platform and network across the STAR network of member institutions, several of which already have an Avail console on site, so that they can broadcast live procedures while communicating with remote viewers via a simple app available on tablet devices and laptops.

“We are very excited to be working with STAR, because we share its goals of enhancing learning opportunities and patient care by supporting collaboration among neurosurgeons,” said Daniel Hawkins, CEO of Avail. “We expect that the exchange of knowledge among this outstanding group of dedicated researchers will elevate care for those affected by stroke or aneurysm, making this partnership as life-changing for patients as it is practice-changing for physicians.”


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