EchoPixel’s revolutionary technology is rapidly gaining adoption, having already been implemented by over 20 percent of the congenital heart defect programs in the U.S. and used extensively in complex, life-saving surgeries. It has played an essential role in several high-profile cases and has proven successful in both open surgery and interventional procedures.
Hospitals are also reporting impressive time savings and improved accuracy through the use of the company’s software.
Expanding the possibilities
Building on this success, the company is broadening its scope, targeting structural heart disease for both planning and intraoperative use. The new device provides an interactive 3D holographic experience that physicians can use in the operating room or cath lab. By eliminating the need for excess head gear, additional glasses or interaction tools, physicians can review the planning images in the operating room.
This new product has a large potential benefit in minimally invasive surgeries that use live echo images. EchoPixel’s technology allows physicians to work with a “digital twin” of the patient’s heart allowing them to turn it, view cross sections and see the valves open and close as it beats, to assist a physician through a procedure.
“We believe these developments will revolutionize the cath lab,” said Sergio Aguirre, founder and CEO of EchoPixel. “Physicians can rely on our software to plan a procedure and then use it intraoperatively in the OR or cath lab. This offers a host of benefits that include potential smart insights into challenges and opportunities of a procedure, which will enable them to achieve clinical excellence and optimize operational efficiency.”
Improving access for patients and physicians
EchoPixel has been working with its partners that create displays to expand its offerings outside the OR. Eventually, the intention is that a patient will be able to see the plan devised on EchoPixel’s planning software as a hologram on a tablet to learn more about the procedure and approve the plan. The physician can then use the same tablet as a window into the patient that shows the blueprint during the surgery; they can even access remote support as needed by sharing the image with a live expert. They can then capture images during the procedure to show the patient post-op that the valve or therapy was placed correctly and there weren’t any issues, thus improving patient insight.
This fills an important role for patient consent and satisfaction, at a time when the Center for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) is asking hospitals to document patient understanding and agreement on recommended procedures. This will be an increasingly critical step to give patients peace of mind that their physician is using the latest technology, particularly when working with elderly patients and as physicians recommend more elective procedures to improve quality of life, Sergio points out.
In addition, the software will help physicians better understand a case and deliver the therapy with fewer resource requirements, thus expanding the ability of hospitals to provide these complex procedures. “Our unique and transformational 3D technology can help to simplify procedures and improve accuracy through the use of augmented reality,” he says.
EchoPixel’s technology will also play an important role as the user interface of robotic surgical instruments, which are increasingly being used in the surgery room to enhance physicians’ skills and techniques.
Taking steps to make expansion a reality
The company is currently in the key stages of fundraising and receiving significant interest.
“We are addressing a large market; right now in the U.S. and Europe there is a $30 billion opportunity to integrate VR and AI into the operating room of the future,” said Sergio. “We are excited to open up a whole new opportunity for hospitals to offer more complex structural heart surgeries as we make the procedures viable for the approximate 4,500 additional centers that have the infrastructure, but currently lack the resources.”