Business

North East firm IMS taps into robotics tech to improve lives across the globe

A North East business has brought together experts from around the world for a project to make surgery safer in the world’s least technically-advanced nations.

Imperial Medical Solutions (IMS) uses global medical connections to ensure patients in emerging economies receive the best chance of clinical success.

Now the Hartlepool company is introducing pioneering surgical robotics to these areas and training surgeons to operate them, following work with the Department for International Trade (DIT).

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The business has worked with the Government department to help understand the potential market and establish links within the healthcare community in Jamaica and Trinidad and Tobago, where it is introducing the FreeHand robotic system for minimally invasive surgery, created by Cardiff-based OR Productivity Ltd.

FreeHand is an affordable Cobot (Collaborative Robot) that can easily be used in operating rooms in emerging economies like the Caribbean and South East Asia.

IMS was formed last summer by radiologist Dr Ramdas Senasi, surgeons Ahsanul Haq and Prof Tan Arulampalam and solicitor Nazia Aftab. It has since recruited people from across the world, including experts in Jamaica and Malaysia.

Chairman Dr Senasi said: “IMS is a young and dynamic company, born via video-conferencing during Covid. We offer clinical leadership and strategy, supporting MedTech Companies and healthcare organisations. There’s no one-size-fits-all answer, so using our agility and knowledge of health markets, we create bespoke healthcare solutions. Our core ethos is patient safety and democratising healthcare.

“We are doctors speaking to doctors. We work together to help organisations adopt new tech to improve patient care. We are proud to have brokered the distribution of FreeHand with the most well established medical distributor in the Caribbean and we hope to introduce more technologies through this route.”

FreeHand has already been used in over 15,000 keyhole surgical procedures across the world, and while IMS is looking to integrate the technology in Trinidad and Tobago and Jamaica it is establishing a similar distribution model in South East Asia.

IMS is now working with UWI Faculty of Medical Sciences, in Trinidad and Tobago and Jamaica to launch two projects that could open the door to digital transformation in healthcare in the Caribbean, while also potentially paving the way for other UK technologies to be adopted by countries.

Medical director Mr Haq said: “The system is vital to parts of the world with no access to integrated surgical robotics.

“FreeHand Collaborative Robots help reduce surgical times, the number of staff involved, lengths of hospital stays, all while increasing surgical skill. The single most important part of keyhole surgery is vision – seeing what you are doing. We have assistants holding cameras who have to make room for the surgeon and know exactly where to point the equipment, but with FreeHand that person can be freed while the surgeon utilises the equipment using small head movements to control what they see.”

The company is working with the DIT to explore markets across the world and utilise its web of world-recognised leaders in medical tech fields.

Victoria Gemmill, DIT Northern Powerhouse regional team and head of North East region, added: “Imperial Medical Solutions is a company formed on a brilliant concept that improves healthcare in areas that need it most and further enhances the reputation of our amazing NHS as incubators of genuine life-saving talent.

“I am so pleased that DIT has been able to support the company’s efforts to improve surgical provision in Trinidad and Tobago and Jamaica and very much look forward to seeing IMS grow its operations in South East Asia.”

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