Incision: accelerating the education and training of surgeons with a digital tool

“Everyone lying on an operating table wants the best surgical care”, says Ritsaart van Montfrans of Incision.
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The company gives surgeons an instrument that trains them using 3D and virtual reality. The ambition is to improve one hundred million surgeries per year. “What drives me personally is balancing between creating an impact and commercial success.”

“Incision’s mission is to support the process of the standardization of surgery. In the short term, this helps accelerating the education of surgeons. We are using a lot of technologies, such as 3D.”

The Beginning

What is Incision?
“Incision is a platform that aims to share surgical knowledge and educate operating room teams in order to enable them to learn from each other. As a digital solution, you could think about it as Netflix and Wikipedia for surgeons. Through videos with 3D-modules, surgeons and their OR assistants gain more knowledge and skills. Step by step, you’ll learn how to proceed during a surgery. You’ll receive tips and recognize dangers. 3D-images combined with a 3D-anatomical model show you where you are in the body.”

Why did you start with Incision?
“The profession is very demanding, and the work pressure is high. Becoming a surgeon is a long journey that involves gaining a lot of knowledge and experience. In the coming years, millions of surgeons will be needed worldwide, but the capacity to educate them is too low. I started managing the company when the market matured. Incision is now operational in almost one hundred hospitals across ten countries, also in countries with a fewer number of surgeons.”

Surgeries can have a huge impact. How do you check the content of the videos?
“We pay particular attention to this. In this profession, you can only offer the best quality. We work together with European surgical societies and with top surgeons. We devote a lot of time and care to supervision and quality control. Based on our working method, we received a ‘golden standard’ accreditation from the Royal College of Surgeons of England.”

The Now

Why did you decide to participate in the AIA18?
“Events like AIA fit in with my personal motivation: I like achieving balance between creating impact, and commercial success. An employee of Accenture gave me the following advice: ‘What you are doing with 3D and artificial intelligence is innovative and you should register’. I heard impressive stories about the jury, that can add value to your network. It is not just an event that takes place on one evening but also about getting to know each other over a couple of months. That is what gives you traction.”

 


What did this achieve up to now?
“Sales cycles in health care are quite long. The award helps Incision speed up its introduction to the market. We’ve become better known, there is recognition and, therefore, more trust. A lesson I learned during the AIA journey is that it’s always a challenge to present a complex story clearly and concisely. The communication should be simple. You must be able to explain in one minute why you have an awesome organization.”

What was the decisive factor for the jury to announce Incision as the winner?
“That we built a knowledge-sharing platform that is about more than just the standardization of knowledge sharing. The jury report states that it is a feasible breakthrough that fulfills the criteria of the jury: creating a future workforce, digitalizing education, diminishing the skills gap and boosting lifelong developments.”

The Future

What are the challenges for Incision?
“We are now working on a worldwide rollout. This entails exciting challenges such as upscaling. Not only in the number of users of Incision, but also in the amount of content. Quality is always our priority. At the same time, we want to keep track of variations. How do we perform the same surgery in the Netherlands, Germany, Hong Kong? Where are the differences and how can we deal with this?”

What kind of trends do you expect in Incision’s market in the coming years?
“Trends in the medical world run at a pace that is different to other sectors because of the way they are verified. Everything should be investigated adequately. But, the fact is that surgeons in a lot of countries experience a busier work environment while technology in the operating theatre is progressing immensely. We are already seeing more surgeries completed with the help of robots. More and more patient and surgical data has become available. How do we deal with this?”

What is your golden tip for innovators?
“Listen to the customer and be where you have to be. In our case: know what the dynamics in the operating theatre are. Watch what happens. Obsessively monitor what customers find important.”

 

*) Incision Academy is the winner of the Accenture Innovation Awards 2018 in the theme Education.

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