Remote expertise through the power of merged reality

Access to this ground-breaking technology is included at no cost with your InterSurgeon clinician membership. Help Lightning allows experienced surgeons to guide and interactively assist others during operations in real-time, anywhere in the world.

Add Help Lightning to your account

What are the benefits of Help Lightning for surgeons?

In light of the pandemic, and for the foreseeable future, the conventional ways of establishing collaborative partnerships through physical visits are not going to be possible. However, because Help Lightning allows surgeons to collaborate remotely, partnerships can still develop – and more easily than ever before.

Help Lightning can be used as a tool for education, mentorship and instruction – as well as for intraoperative case management. It allows both surgical planning and real-time intraoperative advice.

How does it work?

Watch this video to learn how Help Lightning works. This shows use cases in other industries – it’s every bit as useful with surgical applications and can also be used hands-free. All you need to use Help Lightning is your smartphone and an internet connection, though it can also be used with tablets, desktop computers and smart surgical glasses. 

Download a beginner's guide to Help Lightning here: Help Lightning Basic Training

Virtual help in real-time

Help Lightning uses Merged Reality to blend two real-time video streams – e.g. that of a remote surgical expert and another surgeon that needs help – into a collaborative environment. This Merged Reality allows the expert to virtually reach out and direct real surgical procedures or training.

Use your existing devices

Help Lightning runs on your existing mobile devices (iOS, Android) or a web-browser on laptop and desktop computers.

Surgeons can now provide remote assistance as though they’re working side-by-side. They can telestrate, freeze images, use hand gestures, and even add real objects into the merged reality environment.

Be there instantly

Help Lightning is easy, fast and intuitive.

Once you’re in a merged reality call with a colleague or customer, simply tap the mode to change how you interact. Choose whether you’re giving or receiving help, and start collaborating in seconds. Help Lightning’s unique Merged Reality can add missing visual cues, gestures, and non-verbal communication methods to any session.

Using Help Lightning with smart surgical glasses

Take Help Lightning to the next level by pairing it with smart glasses. This innovation allows the wearer to benefit from the assistance of AI or a third-party while performing surgery. When used in conjunction with Help Lightning, smart glasses mean that another surgeon can see exactly what you are seeing and what you’re doing – and also have their hands superimposed over your field of view.

There are a number of models available from different manufacturers including Vuzix, Zebra, and RealWear.

The Advantage of Remote Expertise

Studies show that adding gestures and nonverbal clues substantially improves the speed of understanding. Furthermore, nonverbal cues are 430% more effective than verbal cues and nonverbal cues make Help Lightning’s combination of verbal and nonverbal communication up to 10 times more effective.

Sources: Journal of Nonverbal Behavior, British Journal of Clinical Psychology

M. Straughan, MD

M. Straughan, MD

General Surgeon

University of North Carolina Rockingham , Eden , United States of America

User

Location information

Hospital address

University of North Carolina Rockingham 117 E Kings Hwy Eden North Carolina 27288 United States of America

Hospital type

University-affiliated

Hospital description

Second-Level Hospital (Regional)

Hospital website

https://www.uncrockingham.org/

Description

I have been very passionate about global health since I first volunteered at a rural health post in Lesotho. I then did my medical school where global health was a main focus and I did my residency at a program that had a global surgery rotation (1 month) available for years 2–4. I completed a two year global surgery fellowship with one year in rural Rwanda (the global part was cut short by COVID). I currently work in a rural hospital that is affiliated with a larger state wide non profit hospital system. I have four weeks a year dedicated to global surgery. I am interested in doing global surgery in a busy hospital that needs general surgeon. I have worked in a rural hospitals as a surgeon in two countries, one that was a public district hospital and one that was faith based. I would need mentoring/assistance with operative orthopedic surgery.

Member information

Name

Megan Straughan

Member type

Individual independent practitioner

Specialty

General Surgeon

Subspecialties

  • Include general surgery members that have not selected a subspecialty

Languages spoken

  • English
  • Spanish
  • Hebrew
  • Chinese

Professional affiliations / memberships

  • Eastern Association for the Surgery of Trauma (EAST)

Current and past partnerships

Has current partners or past partnership experience in these countries

  • Rwanda
  • Cameroon

I worked with Partners in Health in Butaro, Rwanda, which is a district hospital. I worked there for 12 months. The hospital is the cancer center of the country and the majority of our surgical volume were breast cancer patients though all types of general surgery patients were treated.

I worked at Mbingo Baptist Hospital in Cameroon for three one month rotations during residency. I was able to scrub a very wide variety of surgical cases from pediatric to thoracic to urological to general surgery.

Conditions treated

  • Breast
  • Benign breast disease
  • Malignant breast disease
  • Breast infections
  • Burns
  • Acute burn care
  • Gastrointestinal
  • Volvulus
  • Bowel Obstruction (parasitic, adhesive, mass)
  • Benign polyps
  • Malignant disease– colon, rectal, anal, carcinoids
  • Diverticular disease
  • Appendicitis
  • Anal disease: Hemorrhoids, fissures, fistulae, prolapse
  • Stomas – colostomies / ileostomies
  • GI bleeds
  • Endocrine
  • Thyroid/parathyroid
  • Hepatobiliary
  • Cholelithiasis/choledocholithiasis
  • Paediatric
  • Newborn intestinal atresias
  • Hirschsprung’s Disease
  • Abdominal wall defects (gastroschisis, omphalocoele)
  • Trauma and Critical Care
  • Ventilator management
  • Total parenteral nutrition management
  • Pressor management
  • Ability to do the following procedures
  • Colonoscopy
  • Sentinal lymph node biopsy

Equipment used

  • Minimally invasive surgery (MIS)
  • Harmonic scalpel
  • Other energy sealing devices
  • Wound protectors
  • Straight stapling devices
  • End-to-end anastomosis (EEA) circular stapler
  • Vacuum assisted closure device
  • Temporary abdominal wound closure
  • Synthetic or biologic patches/mesh
  • Dermatome
  • Mesher
  • Focused Assessment with Sonography for Trauma (FAST)
  • Central venous catheters
  • Mechanical ventilators
  • Total parental nutrition (TPN)
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