Tami Frenkel: Trailblazing the Next Frontier in Surgery by Unlocking the Potential of Robotics

The American engineer, professor, physicist, and inventor, Robert H. Goddard once quoted “It is difficult to say what is impossible, for the dream of yesterday is the hope of today and the reality of tomorrow.”  

This seems to be so true in this tech-driven era, especially in the medical sector where groundbreaking technology like robotics is transforming the way care is delivered. Supporting minimally invasive procedures, robotic technology is changing the way surgeries are performed, streamlining supply delivery and freeing up time for providers to engage with patients. It holds a significant promise to redefine the surgical landscape by improving and expanding laparoscopic procedures and bringing surgery into the digital age. Acknowledging this, many visionary healthcare leaders are coming to the forefront to unleash the immense potential of this technology to give surgeons the upper hand to usher in a new era of ease and affordability. One such impactful leader is Dr. Tami Frenkel, the co-founder, and CEO of Human Xtensions, a pioneering medical robotics company in Israel dedicated to developing digital handheld devices that extend the human hand far into anatomy.

Tami portrait
Human Xtensions, Founder, Tami Frenkel

Tami joined the medical device industry more than twenty years ago, after studying engineering, biology, medicine, and industrial design. She was looking for a way to implement her skills and knowledge to enable surgeons to achieve better outcomes for their patients.  She worked for several companies in the industry before co-founding Human Xtensions.

Empowering Surgeons with Freedom, Flexibility, and Control

It all started as an idea from a leading laparoscopic (minimally invasive) surgeon. He was looking for a solution that would combine the benefits of robotic surgery, which tends to be cumbersome and expensive, with the advantages of affordable laparoscopy, which is typically limiting and not surgeon-friendly. Thus, Human Xtensions was born in 2012 to put the surgeons in the center by giving them a technology that would extend and enhance their performance, and ultimately improve patient outcomes. Today, the company is catalyzing the medical reality by delivering disruptive digital hand top innovation that pushes the art of surgery into new frontiers. Sophisticated yet instinctive, robust yet super-compact, Human Xtensions handtop solutions give surgeons the freedom, flexibility, proximity, and control they need right at their patient’s bedside.The device acts as a human extension inside the anatomy and restores ease and comfort outside by providing surgeons with proper ergonomic positioning near each patient. “We find that once our customers see a demonstration of our HandX™ device and get the opportunity to play around with it in a controlled environment, they cannot wait for the opportunity to operate with it. When they realize that the HandX™ offers them a personalized solution, that’s when we really win them over,” asserts Dr. Frenkel.

Keeping People at the Forefront

Undoubtedly, the key to the success of Human Xtensions lies in its ability to offer top-notch innovative technology. But, what really differentiates the company is its customer centricity and people-centered work culture. For Human Xtensions, its employees are its most important assets and it believes that the best way to attain excellence in its product is by building high-performing teams and creating a strong workplace culture with teamwork, hard work, and perseverance. “I truly believe that every employee makes a difference, and I make sure that they are aware of it. – It is important to me that the technology we develop will affect people in a positive way, be it the employee, surgeon, or patient. We are not developing technology for the sake of technology,” adds Dr. Frenkel.

Insightfully navigating the Human Xtensions team forward, Tami is advancing the company into new horizons of excellence, for answering to the most challenging frontiers in surgery.

Steering through the Challenges to Support its Customers

Talking about the challenges posed by the pandemic, Tami elucidates that Covid19 has had a massive impact on the global healthcare industry with tightening budgets. To address this challenge, Human Xtensions opted to expand its reach to several geographic areas, thus extending its solution to several markets and reducing dependency on one market that might be more heavily affected by Covid 19, now or in the future.  “As far as differentiating ourselves within the industry, we developed a modular platform technology, as opposed to a single product, in order to maintain a long-lasting competitive advantage within the field. We are also very sensitive to the pricing of our product; we provide our solution at 5% of the cost of other robotic devices on the market,” opines Dr. Frenkel.

Moving Ahead With Technical Excellence

Advancing into the future, the company aspires to further broaden the reach of its innovative products. It believes that this will redefine laparoscopic surgery as an accessible and affordable procedure, providing better outcomes for both patients and surgeons.

“I look forward to inventing the future in the medical device industry on a global scale, with further integration of robotic surgery and AI in the operating room. – On the local scale, I would like to establish Israel as a leader of innovation in the medical device industry,” concludes Dr. Frenkel.