Haptica and Royal College of Surgeons in Ireland to introduce new approaches to surgical education

Dublin 15 November 2006Haptica, a world expert in surgical simulation, has signed a deal to supply surgical simulators to Johnson & Johnson's Ethicon Endo-Surgery Division in a deal worth 1,25 million euro over 3 years. This Agreement follows a 1 million euro contract that Haptica completed in 2005 with Ethicon Endo-Surgery Inc. to develop the world's first augmented reality simulated surgical procedure - ProMIS HALC. The ProMIS HALC allows a surgeon to learn and practise a complete Hand-Assisted Laparoscopic Colectomy on a totally simulated model.


Derek Young of Haptica who led the project with Johnson & Johnson, stated: "The new agreement is designed to support Ethicon Endo-Surgery's rollout of the HALC simulator as an integral element of their surgical training curriculum."

In addition, the Royal College of Surgeons in Ireland (RCSI) uses Haptica's simulators to run the world's first advanced surgical training programme. RCSI is an acknowledged global expert and innovator in the world of surgical education. The RCSI's skills centre in Dublin is one of the biggest simulation centres in the world.

Recently, the RCSI used Haptica's ProMIS simulators to train a group of surgeons in Laparoscopic Colectomy procedure, using keyhole surgery to treat colon cancer by removing cancerous parts of the colon. The course was led by Mr. Paul Neary, consultant surgeon at AMNCH Tallaght. Mr. Neary commented: "This skills programme was a world-first for surgical training: the ProMIS simulators provide a realistic and risk-free environment for surgeons to practise their skills and procedures and will have a positive effect on surgical outcomes and patient safety."

In the coming months, the RCSI will lead a global study - leading 20 university teaching hospitals in the United States - to test the effectiveness of simulation in surgical training. The study, led by Professor Oscar Traynor of the RCSI, will involve studying the effects of training on Haptica's simulator on the surgeon's actual performance in real surgery on patients. Professor Traynor commented: "We know that simulators like Haptica's ProMIS represent the future of surgical training: this study will demonstrate the difference that simulator practice means for patients."

ProMIS has been developed in Ireland by Dublin-based company, Haptica Ltd. ProMIS uses games-type technology to train surgeons in laparoscopic or keyhole surgery. Marking a major departure for surgical training, the ProMIS simulator allows a surgeon to perform a complete Laparoscopic Colectomy on a totally simulated model. ProMIS is the first simulator to integrate virtual reality with real instruments. Surgeons use the full range of real laparoscopic instruments to complete the procedure, interacting with a mix of virtual reality and physical models. Surgeons are guided through the procedure step-by-step, and at the end are given feedback on their performance. As they work, the surgeon's instruments - and hand - are tracked as they perform the procedure. It is this combination of real and virtual worlds that enables the ProMIS HALC to deliver a highly realistic and engaging learning experience.

Haptica works closely with the Royal College of Surgeons in Ireland. In their state-of-the-art surgical skills centre in Dublin, the RCSI uses Haptica simulators for training in surgical skills. ProMIS is fast being recognised as the simulator of choice for surgical training programmes around the world. Over the past two and a half years, the ProMIS Simulator has been adopted by the leading Medical Schools around the world: over 100 simulators are in place in over 50 centres worldwide. Customers include leading universities and institutes like Stanford University, Harvard University, Imperial College London and the Royal College of Surgeons in Ireland (RCSI). The RCSI currently deploys ProMIS simulators in their world-leading Surgical Training Centre in Dublin and in their unique Mobile Skills Unit.

Ethicon Endo-Surgery Inc., a Johnson & Johnson company headquartered in Cincinnati, develops and markets a broad portfolio of advanced surgical instruments for less invasive and traditional surgery. Its mission is to help physicians around the world "transform patient care through innovation". The company's focus is on designing innovative, procedure-enabling devices for the interventional diagnosis and treatment of various diseases and conditions in the areas of general, colorectal, thoracic and bariatric surgery, breast disease, gynaecology, and urology.

Haptica Ltd. is an independent company headquartered in Dublin, Ireland and with a United States base in Boston, Massachusetts. The company was set up in 2001 by Dr. Gerard Lacey and Fiona Slevin. Current turnover is 2 million euro and it employs 10 people. Haptica develops needs-based, integrated simulation solutions for laparoscopic and other surgical procedures. As well as developing corporate solutions, Haptica's ProMIS surgical simulator is used in over 50 surgical skills centres globally. In 2004, Haptica and ProMIS were recognized with three prestigious awards for innovation. More company news is available in the VMW November 2005 article New simulator enables fast, effective training of surgeons in hand-assisted laparoscopic colectomy.

Leslie Versweyveld

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