Disseminating technology in global surgery

Br J Surg. 2019 Jan;106(2):e34-e43. doi: 10.1002/bjs.11036.


Background: Effective dissemination of technology in global surgery is vital to realize universal health coverage by 2030. Challenges include a lack of human resource, infrastructure and finance. Understanding these challenges, and exploring opportunities and solutions to overcome them, are essential to improve global surgical care.

Methods: This review focuses on technologies and medical devices aimed at improving surgical care and training in low- and middle-income countries. The key considerations in the development of new technologies are described, along with strategies for evaluation and wider dissemination. Notable examples of where the dissemination of a new surgical technology has achieved impact are included.

Results: Employing the principles of frugal and responsible innovation, and aligning evaluation and development to high scientific standards help overcome some of the challenges in disseminating technology in global surgery. Exemplars of effective dissemination include low-cost laparoscopes, gasless laparoscopic techniques and innovative training programmes for laparoscopic surgery; low-cost and versatile external fixation devices for fractures; the LifeBox pulse oximeter project; and the use of immersive technologies in simulation, training and surgical care delivery.

Conclusion: Core strategies to facilitate technology dissemination in global surgery include leveraging international funding, interdisciplinary collaboration involving all key stakeholders, and frugal scientific design, development and evaluation.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Biomedical Technology / methods*
  • Delivery of Health Care / methods*
  • Delivery of Health Care / standards
  • Developing Countries
  • Diffusion of Innovation*
  • General Surgery / methods*
  • Global Health
  • Humans