Interview With Jean Nehme – Co-Founder, Touch Surgery

Jean Nehme and Andre Chow founded Touch Surgery in 2013 after seeing an opportunity to improve the global standard of surgical care.

We wanted to find out more about how Touch Surgery are innovating surgical care and so sat down with Jean, who kindly gave us the opportunity to ask some questions. Due to continued success Touch Surgery are hiring for key roles in the organisation. Find out more Touch Surgery Jobs

SD – Hi, could you please introduce yourself?

Hi, my name is Jean Nehme and I am a surgeon and the co-founder and co-CEO of Touch Surgery, alongside Dr Andre Chow. Touch Surgery is an app that is innovating  the ways surgeons practice complex procedures before stepping into the operating room.

SD – Where are you based?

We are based in Clerkenwell, London, but we also have offices in New York City. While we are headquartered in London, we very much have a global team with people from all over the world working with us.

SD – What is your background?

I trained as a surgeon in London. Andre and I co-founded Touch Surgery because we thought there was a better way to train people to practice surgery.  We found that there are many people who share that belief. We have been lucky enough to win multiple awards for our research in innovation and the application of technology and simulation. In 2016, we received the Founders Forum Singapore Rising Star and won the London Business School Deloitte Digital Health Award in 2015.

SD – What inspired you to start Touch Surgery?

As surgeons, Andre and I are incredibly passionate about healthcare. The global healthcare industry faces multiple challenges, and many of these issues can be addressed through technological innovation – a lack of access to training, a shrinking global surgical workforce and slow adoption of innovative techniques are just a few of the obstacles. What’s more, almost 5 billion people do not have access to safe surgical care. A mobile and connected surgical audience is the first step towards transforming surgery worldwide – we want to lead the charge, and so Touch Surgery was born.

SD – What role, then, does Touch Surgery play in surmounting the challenges of the healthcare industry?

Let’s take the challenge of providing safe surgical care for the rest of the global population, which is, admittedly, an enormous undertaking. By integrating cutting-edge animation, game development and VR, we can take our deep knowledge of surgical procedures and create groundbreaking simulations, allowing surgeons to practice complex surgical procedures before stepping into the OR – wherever in the world that OR is. Access to support and training is now in the palm of our hands.

Touch Surgery is also designed to address the lack of training for surgeons. Take athletes, musicians, and airline pilots, for example – their performance arena is not often the arena they perform. You don’t run in the olympics to practice; you practice to perform in the Olympics. This should, ultimately, be the same for surgery and surgeons. We’re empowering surgeons to train repeatedly, out of the OR, so when they get in the OR, they are ready to perform more confidently. This is so important in increasing the standards of global surgery.

SD – What do you see as your biggest challenges?

Andre and I count ourselves lucky to be surrounded by an incredibly smart, ambitious, hard-working and visionary group of people, and finding more great people to add to our family remains a priority.

We have team members who previously worked at organisations like Marmalade, Dropbox, ChatOps, McLaren, SwiftKey, and Porsche; an amazing number of surgeons and medical officers; and a fantastic business development team. It’s an inspiring environment and it’s ultimately a testament to what we’re building here – how we maintain that as we scale is a challenge, but one we’re excited to tackle. Our team is everything.

SD – What type of person is most suited to working at Touch Surgery?

Someone who is up for a challenge. They’d need to thrive in demanding situations. We’re trying to solve a global problem here – that takes dedication. We need people who follow through, who are constantly learning and who want to be valued and recognised for their talent. We’re always shouting about our team, making sure they know how valued they are. We do this is a number of ways, from baking competitions to celebrate birthdays, to awarding share options as part of everyone’s benefits package, to Friday Family Meetings where we get to check-in on our progress as a company. We want to invest in people because we want them to invest in us.

SD – What are your growth plans in the UK and Europe?

We have expanded rapidly in the US and the UK, but our vision has always been global. As an app, there are no geographical boundaries. Innovation can come from anywhere, and being able to connect people across the globe means our growth is also global. We are heading off to Lebanon for our hackathon with BDL Accelerate and Garage48 next month, for example.

Using technology to benefit those in the developing world, particularly in communities that lack access to complex surgical skills, is critical to us delivering on our vision. So growth for us isn’t just related to profit and, with that in mind, it won’t just come from the UK and Europe.

SD – What do you see the Healthcare Technology landscape being in 2020?

My personal view is that the rate of technology innovation will continue to accelerate both inside the OR and outside.  Medicine will be even more assistive than ever, impacting how diagnoses are made and surgeries performed.  We will get more robots in the OR and beyond.

It’s also clear, as more young surgeons enter the profession, expectations for learning and training are much different as well. Tomorrow’s surgeons will have grown up with technology – how they interact with the world is different, and so we’ll see a vast increase in the use of 3D technology.

SD – How do people find out more information?

Our jobs are listed on Salus Digital, of course. Touch Surgery Jobs

You can visit touchsurgery.com, and you’re encouraged to download the app on iTunes or Google Play even if you’re not a surgeon!

SD – thanks for your time

Jean’s info:

@Jean_Nehme and @TouchSurgery

THE AUTHOR

Nic McCoy

Co-Founder and Director of Talent Solutions

Nick is an experienced sales, marketing and recruitment professional with the last 12 yrs+ spent working with Medical technology companies and digital health innovators.

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