August 18, 2016
On the afternoon of August 17, ICCAS was visited by Hermann Gröhe, Germany’s Minister of Health, during his summer tour. In his address, he stressed his backing for innovation, as long as it can be put to broad use. He also mentioned that he had been strongly recommended by experts to visit the Future Operating Room at ICCAS. He was accompanied by Babara Klepsch, Saxony’s State Minister of Social Affairs and Consumer Protection.
Examples of practical high-tech equipment were demonstrated to the two ministers, who also tried some of it out for themselves. They tested the smart capabilities of assistive technology during simulated surgery on ear and nose of a phantom patient involving microscope, endoscope and mill. The new possibilities of surgical support prompted admiration – and also a number of questions. Answers were provided by ICCAS’s two directors: Professor Andreas Melzer (from clinical perspective) and Professor Thomas Neumuth (from technical angle). They emphasized that R&D work at ICCAS was intended to help physicians rather than replace their expertise and activity. Hermann Gröhe explained that networking and interoperability were also key issues for the German government in connection with ensuring that everyone benefits from state-of-the-art medicine. He added that centers like ICCAS – where the principles of vendor-independent networking in the operating room were already being demonstrated – were essential for this purpose.
Finally, the visitors witnessed a presentation of the CephaLense – an assistance system for the optimal display of anatomical structures of the skull. It enables neurosurgeons to better pinpoint access routes for interventions in the brain by avoiding critical tissue structures. It’s an inexpensive mobile device which can also be used in emergency surgery.
Other guests in attendance during the ministers’ visit included Professor Beate Schücking (Rector of the University of Leipzig), Professor Michael Stumvoll (Dean of the Faculty of Medicine), Professor Oliver Gotthold (Administrative Director of the Faculty of Medicine) and Professor Wolfgang Fleig (Medical Director of Leipzig University Hospital) as well as Professor Andreas Dietz (Director of the Department of Otolaryngology and a member of the ICCAS Board) and Professor Jürgen Meixensberger (Director of the Department of Neurosurgery, head of the ICCAS Board).