“In a world of 7 billion people, approximately 5 billion are without access to timely, affordable, safe, and quality surgical care. Lack of access results in loss of life and reduced welfare for millions every year and stunts economic development for countries. An estimated 143 million additional surgical procedures are needed each year to save lives and prevent disability. (LCGS, 2015)”
These statistics are daunty, but not disparaging. There are organizations working together to chip away at that 5 billion. One revolutionary partnership exists between AMA XpertEye and Mending Kids.

Mending Kids ‘MK’ is a non-profit organization providing free, life-changing surgical care to children around the world, including children in the United States. MK serves in areas with greatest needs. Each year, MK deploys teams of surgical providers around the world to provide surgery and train local providers to become medically self-sufficient. Over the past 10 years, MK has provided surgery to nearly 3000 children from over 56 countries.

Looking forward to the next decade, MK wants to help even more children and create longer-lasting impacts in the communities we serve.

To do this, MK requires innovative solutions from companies like AMA XpertEye. AMA’s smart glass technology will help MK address the four dimensions of surgical access:

(1) Timeliness: Real-time video conferencing with screen annotation capabilities means that patients are being seen and diagnosed earlier.

(2) Surgical Capacity: Using AR in the operating room allows surgeons to confidently operate and improve their skillset.

(3) Safety: Having a second set of eyes during all stages of care — pre-, peri-, and post-op — adds an additional layer of quality control to avoid error.

(4) Affordability: Compared to the cost of deploying a surgical team, the AMA kit is cost-effective and provided year-round training and knowledge sharing.

Mending Kids performed a proof of concept using the AMA kit in Guatemala in March, 2017. The goal was to test if the kit can be useful in pre-screening patients for surgery, during surgery, and for post-operative wound management. The technology proved to be effective, so this past August, MK piloted the technology in Mozambique.

Prior to MK’s team arrival on the ground, our lead surgeon video conferenced with the local surgeon and pre-screen patients for surgery. Because there was prior knowledge of the cases and procedures, our team anticipated the tools needed and packed accordingly.

Once in country, our team worked at two hospitals, one hour apart. Using the AMA kit, our doctor was able to be in two places at the same time – supervising and advising surgery remotely.

Then after our team’s departure from Mozambique, our doctors continued to stay involved in the postoperative treatment of patients using AR.

This is an ongoing project but so far, the responses have been resoundingly positive. The patients responded favorably to smart glass. Curious at first, but ultimately happy that innovation and technological advances were being invested in their healthcare. Both MK and local surgeons enjoyed having smart glass as a tool to connecting and facilitating their ongoing training.

Thank you to AMA XpertEye for helping Mending Kids provide quality surgical care and train surgeons around the world. Together, technology and surgery will help alleviate the global burden of surgical diseases.

Karissa Nguyen
Graduate services advisor, keck school of medicine of USC