WakeMed embraces robotic surgery, artificial intelligence in latest high-tech additions

Original article was published by on AI Magazine


RALEIGH – From the early embrace of drone technology to a GPS-linked app and now to robotics and artificial intelligence, WakeMed continues to expand on its use of cutting-edge technology in its goal to mprovide continuous improvement of health care. The latest news is a technology partnership with tech giant Siemens.

WakeMed and Siemens Healthineers – a part of Siemens with a major operation in Cary – disclosed Wednesday a 10-year partnership that they say will boost WakeMed as a “hub site to pioneer new initiatives across its existing cardiovascular intervention and imaging programs.”

So why is WakeMed continuing to embrace new tech?

“Innovation provides the opportunity to transform care delivery for the benefit of those we serve,” Dr. Chuck Harr, cardiothoracic surgeon and chief medical officer for WakeMed Raleigh Campus, tells WRAL TechWire. “Advances in technology, use of AI and robotics along with additional staff training all lead to better outcomes and value for our patients. It is our commitment to the community we serve.”

WakeMed already is a trendsetter, in other areas, such as testing the use of drones such as for use in making medical deliveries and recently launched its All-Access app.

The CorPath robotic surgery system. (Siemens image)

Specifics for WakeMed include:

  • Greater use of robotics for cardiovascular care
  • A “world-class hybrid operating room” including a robot
  • The operating room and robotic system can be used cardiac, vascular, neurosurgical, orthopedic, cancer and trauma services
  • Improved medical 3D imaging
  • Applications of artificial intelligence
  • Greater use of technologies for remote use
  • Plus training for healthcare providers and staff

Some of the new tech is already in place, Harr explains.

Dr. Chuck Harr (WakeMed photo)

“WakeMed will introduce new cardiovascular robotic and diagnostic capabilities as well as state-of-the-art imaging equipment (all Siemens products). Examples of this work already underway include the new ARTIS Icono biplane at WakeMed Raleigh Campus, which will be available in early November, and a new PET CT scanner, which will be installed at the new WakeMed Medical Park of Cary later this year.”

The ARTIS imaging system is designed for use in:

  • Neurointerventions
  • Interventional Radiology/Oncology
  • Interventional Cardiology
  • Cardiovascular Surgery

“WakeMed will serve as a best-in-class cardiovascular laboratory,” Harr adds. “Implementation of a world-class hybrid operating room, which – with the addition of ARTIS Icono and a Corindus CorePath GRX robot (already in use), can transform the delivery of care across a spectrum of specialties including: cardiac, vascular, neurosurgical, orthopedic, cancer and trauma services.”

Financial terms on Wednesday’s announcement were not disclosed.

Robotic surgery

The robot is the CorPath GRX Vascular Robotic System which Siemens says offers:

  • Procedural Control: Robotic-assisted control of coronary guide catheters, guidewires, and rapid exchange catheters.
  • Robotic Precision: Sub-millimeter measurement and 1mm movement to position stents exactly where you need them.
  • Improved Workflow: Extended Reach Arm for radial access and redesigned Bedside Unit with touchscreen for ease of use.
  • Protection: Radiation protection to the physician and potential to reduce radiation exposure for staff and patients.

An image from an AI-RAD Companion system. (Siemens photo)

Artificial intelligence applications include “AI-Rad Companion” that the partners say will “will support WakeMed’s ability to identify disease early, reduce variance in findings for imaging studies and participate in the development and launch of new clinical approaches.”

“With WakeMed being right in the backyard of our Cary, N.C. location, it will allow for tremendous growth and collaboration in our already strong partnership, and high quality care for our own employees,” said David Pacitti, President of Americas, Siemens Healthineers, in a statement. “Our focus on developing technologies with WakeMed will create a hub for training, education, and the advancement of healthcare for the surrounding community.”

WakeMed and Siemens say they will provide training through a workforce development academy focusing on imaging and robotic intervention.

“Our collaboration with Siemens Healthineers aligns with WakeMed’s efforts to accelerate innovation, serve as a preferred partner among industry leaders with expertise in technology and a shared vision for the future as we support positive health outcomes for our many patients, their families and communities,” said Harr. “Expertise, experience and advanced technology are hallmarks of WakeMed, including its rich history in being the area’s leader in cardiovascular interventions and care.”