ISIS on the Charles de Gaulle !

March 2024

2005 ... ISIS invites itself on the aircraft carrier Charles de Gaulle!

In 2004, ISIS introduced SurgiAssist to the medical market, a Surgical Tele-Assistance (STA) device dedicated to operating theatres. This device, which used videoconferencing modules, consisted of two sub-assemblies divided between an operating room and a remote room (staff room, amphitheater, conference room,etc.) and allowed to concentrate and transmit data from the operating room,such as radiological images and real-time video images and exchange in audio. The initial goal was twofold: to allow a ‘senior’ surgeon to follow the interventions of the ‘junior’ surgeons of the service, but also, if necessary, to assist them.

The Army Health Service (Service de Santé des Armées - SSA) soon understood the interest of such devices and bought two systems, the first for the mythical Val de Grâce Hospital in Paris and the second for the IAH (Inter-Armies Hospital) Sainte-Anne in Toulon.

After the first very positive feedback from these two hospitals, the question quickly arose to study the feasibility of embarking this type of device on some vessels of our National Navy since it was impossible to have on board surgeons of all specialties and to be able to access the advice of a specialist was more significant, all the more so since military doctors and surgeons often perform a “humanitarian” mission to the civilian population in the field of operation, in addition to their military mission.

The Naval Staff, then decided to rely on the experience of the neurosurgeons of the IAH Sainte-Anne with the SurgiAssist and, since the transmissions of the military ships are made by means of satellite links, to make some tests on board the Charles de Gaulle aircraft carrier then stationed in Toulon. It is therefore naturally addressed to ISIS, French designer of the device and privileged partner of the Army Health Service.

At the end of April 2005, Xavier P., R&D Manager, Philippe B., network engineer and Yves P. Clinical Manager (and SSA Reserve Officer), three of the best elements of ISIS, arrived alongside a SurgiAssist to board the legendary ship.

Quite quickly, they realized that the ISIS device was not really developed for this type of environment, the multiple passageways and stairs to reach the small operating room being quite incompatible with its wheeled foot. Once the device is in place and the satellite link with the IAH Sainte-Anne is established, simulations of information transmission are carried out on a ‘phantom’ patient. One of them is the remote materialization directly on the displayed video images of an action, supplemented orally by a directive of the remote expert of the genre: 'You should coagulate the little bleeding here! ''.

From a clinical point of view, these trials will prove quite conclusive, the functions of the device responding rather well to the need. On the other hand, from a technical point of view, it seems quite obvious that the ergonomics of the SurgiAssist does not really meet the characteristics of “on-board” systems.

The resultsof these tests will be used in a number of ways :

Since the satellite links of the French Navy’s ships are very heavily reserved for command and service functions, the proportion of ‘bandwidth’ for medical exchanges is quite limited. The General Delegation for Armaments (DGA) has therefore programmed a project to characterize the necessary bandwidth of a satellite link as part of Tele-Surgical Assistance in External Operations(OPEX), for which ISIS was selected in partnership with Bertin Technologies and Thales Alenia Space.

On the other hand, in another register, the conclusions of these tests participated in the design of the specifications of the communication equipment of the operating theatres of the Mistral and Tonnerre, Projection and Command Vessels (BPC in French).

Finally, ISIS capitalized on these tests, then on the project of the DGA that followed, to develop several of the original features still present twenty years later on SurgiMedia, its Video-Management solution.