Teladoc expands into AR-enabled virtual surgery support via Proximie partnership

The news: Telehealth giant Teladoc is partnering with health-tech company Proximie to integrate the latter’s augmented reality-enabled surgical support system with Teladoc’s Solo platform—an integrated virtual care platform for providers that enables patient intake, real-time communication among patients and clinicians, and analytics capabilities.

Here’s how it works: Proximie’s software will let surgeons using Teladoc Solo virtually “scrub in” to operating rooms around the world to remotely interact with a procedure in real-time.

That means even hospitals with limited surgical staff can access experts from around the world to raise the quality of care they’re providing to their patients. Most notably, Proximie’s solution can be deployed on low bandwidth—which means it’s just as functional in rural, low resource hospitals as higher-end hospitals. This is particularly important since rural communities face dwindling pools of physicians and sparse healthcare facilities.

What this partnership means:

  • For Teladoc: This partnership expands Teladoc beyond cloud-based, AI-enabled virtual care.
  • For Proximie: While Proximie already operates in 100 hospitals across 35 countries, it is gaining access to Teladoc’s network of 600+ health systems and hospitals, allowing it to have a faster route to market expansion and an early entrance in the AR-surgery space.

The bigger picture: As telehealth use declines, we expect to see vendors like Teladoc pad themselves to outlast the pandemic by focusing on provider collaboration tools, especially in high-need healthcare areas like surgery, chronic care, and oncology.

  • National telehealth utilization dropped 10% from May to June alone, per Fair Health’s latest analysis. Moreover, telehealth use has been on an overall decline from its peak last summer.
  • Telehealth vendors may cook up provider-focused solutions to offset risks around patient-doctor telehealth visits. This makes even more sense when you consider how their health system clients are already planning to expand into new kinds of technology deployments: 23% of US healthcare execs say they’ve currently deployed AR/VR tech in their healthcare organization, and 51% say they plan to, per BDO’s June 2021 Healthcare Digital Transformation survey.

Go deeper: To learn more about how 5G will expand what’s possible in immersive medical training, check out our How 5G Will Change Healthcare report.