Led by Dr. Alexandre Hostettler head of the IRCAD Surgical Data Science team along with Toby Collins, Director of Research at IRCAD, and Dr.Flavien Bridault, Director of Development at IRCAD, IRCAD has to this date worked on numerous projects in close collaboration with IHU currently developing its research on the theme of augmented surgery.
The aim of the IRCAD Surgical Data Science team previously known as the IRCAD R&D team is to improve the conditions of surgery, by "increasing" the surgeon's skills and the efficiency of surgical maneuvers, through the development of new instruments and digital resources. The goal, is for surgeons to benefit from an "increased" vision, operating maneuvers, and decision-making in the future.
In 2018, IRCAD team members held a computer science workshop in Kigali to gage the interest and the level in medical research engineering. Amazed by the response received and knowledge level from the workshop attendees, IRCAD team members were more than ever convinced of the need to create an R&D department at IRCAD Africa. Shortly after, IRCAD Africa R&D department launched with a team of 3 R&D engineers working in close collaboration with the existing IRCAD France team. It has since then grown to become a team of 6 engineers and one PhD candidate.
The IRCAD Africa surgical data science team ambition is to grow and become the largest Medical R&D team on the African continent, and go from a team of seven in 2020 to a team of forty in 2025. The growth of the Surgical Data Science team has been thoroughly planned to reach the set goal. IRCAD favors growth within the team which allows some IRCAD Africa team members to pursue PhDs in Strasbourg through the University of Strasbourg and retour to IRCAD Africa to apply the acquired knowledge. The team will include; interns, engineers, PhD candidates working from the IRCAD Africa center in Kigali-Rwanda. The team works closely with African Surgeon to tackle some of the challenges encountered in the operative room with the aim to develop affordable solution through technology.
The Surgical Data Science team has chosen to prioritize augmented surgery research under the guided echography since it is the most widely used in operating room in Africa. Artificial intelligence now allows images taken by echography to be treated in real time which allows to extract rich and dynamic information. With this information, detection and characterization of tumors and pathologies becomes easier and which makes their treatment easier. The team will collaborate with a French company e-scopics in order to develop a new generation of echographic imaging which will come at an affordable cost.