On 11th October, Smith+Nephew, global medical technology company specialising in orthopaedics, advanced wound management, and sports medicine, opened the doors to Smith+Nephew Academy Munich, the latest addition to a global network of nine academies, across Europe, Asia and the United States.
The Academy, situated in the heart of Munich, Germany, is something the company feels represents a significant stride towards harnessing technology to advance patient care. With a growing elderly population, there is a surge in demand for pioneering solutions. The centre was built as a commitment to improving healthcare professionals’ access to medical education and training, helping redefine the standard of care for their patients.
A hub for surgical excellence and collaboration
The Academy is expecting to train up to 5,000 global healthcare professionals annually, offering them an opportunity to learn new clinical skills and collaborate with fellow surgeons, scientists, and engineers. With 30-40% of patients in Germany being at an age where they are still working, Smith+Nephew’s Academy Munich will operate as a European hub for surgeons to advance their expertise in using the latest techniques through a fully immersive digital interactive experience, getting patients back to an active lifestyle as soon as possible.
“Our investment in Smith+Nephew Academy Munich is part of a global commitment to drive innovation and learning in medical technology, creating an environment where the best healthcare providers can learn, collaborate, and innovate to meet the needs of their patients,” said Cynthia Walker, global senior vice president for medical education, Smith+Nephew.
The launch brought together 100+ healthcare professionals, innovators, and industry partners from around the world, including orthopaedic, trauma and reconstructive surgeons. Speakers were selected from across Germany to represent patient, surgical and political perspectives on the importance of Smith+Nephew’s presence in Munich. This included Jan Frodeno, Olympic gold-medallist, and three-time world Ironman champion, who spoke at the event, sharing his personal perspective on achieving excellence in his sport and the importance of collaborating with his medical team on the road to recovery.
Kicking off the opening presentation, Kenneth Garcia Marques, senior vice president & general manager, international orthopaedics, Smith+Nephew, said: “Today marks an important milestone, not just for the region, but for the company globally. I want to thank everyone for making Smith + Nephew Academy Munich more than just a dream, more than just an idea, but an opportunity to expand our impact we only exist for one reason: to improve patients’ lives.”
The centre provides the opportunity for healthcare professionals to learn new clinical techniques, driving the development of cutting-edge and AI technologies. The centre’s high-tech state-of-the-art equipment, including a Wet Lab, Digital Operating Room and VR surgery, was built to support medical education and innovation, improving patient lives globally. Kenneth Garcia Marques emphasised, “AI is the most disruptive enabling technology in the last two decades. At Smith+Nephew and med-tech in general, we intend to embrace and lead the adoption of this technology across our business.”
The Academy has an array of capabilities, enabling live broadcasts of surgical training to participant stations and global audiences alike. The facility serves as a hub for surgical training, R&D and innovation, facilitated by a highly skilled team, offering a space for surgeons to take part in pioneering procedures with the goal of enhancing patient outcomes.
The Advanced Bio-Skills lab comprises of seven stations for sports medicine and robotic joint reconstruction and is equipped as a faculty station with ceiling mounted 4k cameras, audio, and microphones. Currently, Academy Munich has the potential to concurrently train up to 50 surgeons at one time.
Kenneth Garcia Marques commented: “Smith+Nephew is leading the way with AI in the use of intra-operative surgical planning in robotically enabled procedures. Besides robotics, we are in the process of assessing and utilising data sets to drive product enhancements in the rest of the technology portfolio.”
Digital Operating Room (OR)
The advanced Digital OR ecosystem uses the latest technology that compliments Smith+Nephew’s orthopaedics’ range of next generation navigation, robotics, and arthroscopic visualisation solutions.
The operating room is designed to mirror the archetype of a futuristic hospital, having the capability to conduct live surgical demonstrations, streaming their expertise to audiences in the auditorium or, virtually, to a global viewership. The room provides hands-on virtual training for surgeons to operate using the latest technology for orthopaedic and sports medicine, opening the possibility of training wherever, whenever. Notably, one of the first training session at the site was centred around Smith+Nephew’s robotic innovations, including their CORI device for total and unicompartmental knee arthroplasty.
Virtual Reality (VR) surgery
Smith+Nephew’s Academy Munich’s VR and Simulation Room provides a variety of interactive and immersive medical education programmes focusing on new and innovative surgical techniques, helping surgeons to learn and practice in a calm, comfortable and exclusive environment.
Comprising of 20 VR headsets and eight computers to support gamified learning, the VR and Simulation Room encourages partnerships between trainees and surgeons, working together to excel and innovative in their practise, redefining surgical training, planning and procedures to improve patient outcomes.
Smith+Nephew’s Academy Munich showcases the progress of medical education and technology, highlighting its state-of-the-art facilities and commitment to excellence, education and innovation, equipping healthcare professionals with cutting-edge skills and training. New technologies and innovation further drive the requirement for training and education with health care professionals. One of these key areas is robotic surgery; to reap the benefits of this technology the surgeon needs to understand how to interpret the data in surgery to make the best decisions for the patient.
Cynthia Walker said: “Medical education is the foundation of all that we do, to drive excellent clinical outcomes for the patient. Through excellent clinical outcomes utilising Smith+Nephew products, to help patients take the limits off living.”
The centre provides a further commitment to Life Unlimited by training thousands of healthcare professionals each year, helping redefine what’s possible for their patients.