by Susan Eustis
Dr. Steven Schwaitzberg spoke at the IBM campfire series in Waltham MA about the opportunity to enhance surgical training worldwide using information technology. IBM cloudburst technology is part of breakthrough collaboration capabilities that support using video conferencing to achieve surgeon training worldwide. Dr. Steven Schwaitzberg is the chief of surgery at the Cambridge Health Alliance. He is a pioneer in minimally invasive surgery.
“Harness technology to move forward,” according to Dr. Schwaitzberg. Use technology to solve the difficult problems that society faces was the thrust of his presentation. The combination of language translation, automatic voice recognition, and collaboration software for video streaming mean Doctors at the Harvard Medical school can use Skype to train doctors in Africa, China, and Latin America. Learning to operate on people represents the need for specialized training. The ability to receive training remotely represents a breakthrough in medical training.
Physicians have so much data that is useless because it is not available as information. They need information. Information is what you use. When a doctor has usable information, he or she can turn that into action. One of the clear benefits of remote training of surgeons is that information can be communicated even when there is a language barrier. The training teaches doctors how to take the data that is available and do surgery using the skills taught remotely.
The IBM tools that are being used to accomplish this are Lotus Sametime and IBM Smart Cloud along with tools from partners including Nuance which permits embedding Dragon systems speech recognition, and Loinbridge automated software translation. IBM is able to leverage partner technology to achieve a marvelous breakthrough in surgical training for use all over the world.
The group has developed a Sametime video conferencing system with automated captioning and caption translation. Language translation is an essential aspect of connecting to people who need training. The training includes communication of process and ethics. It attacks conflict of interest .
IBM has established a focus on humans, it has emerged with the ability to connect people in ways that support the humanity that is implicit in surgical training worldwide. According to Frances West, World Wide Director, IBM Human Ability & Accessibility Center; people with disabilities need transcription and once the transcription ability is developed, there are very broad uses for it, including the application described above for surgical training worldwide. Frances West is able to see applications in broad areas that are useful for surgical training, but can extend to all sorts of training worldwide, presaging huge expansions in the use of video for training in virtually every circumstance when it would be useful.
According to Frances West, IBM is positioned to “help address societal needs that can be lightened by information technology. Training surgeons world wide is surely one of those humanitarian needs that is amenable to the IT offered by IBM and its partners Lionbridge and Nuance.” Ms. West is charged with the worldwide responsibility of establishing IBM market leadership by promoting advanced research technology, products, services and solutions in the area of human ability and accessibility. Her other positions at IBM include director, Channels, Alliances and Business Development for the Lotus Software Group and director, Financial Services Sector Solutions, IBM Global Services.
IBM smart cloud computing has hit another home run here.