DigiHEST: How we reached 29 countries in two days.

In December, we piloted our first ever Digital Hostile Environment Surgical Training (DigiHEST) course. We transformed an office space, generously provided by Whitby Wood, into an operating theatre and our friends at Redux Content decked the place out as a recording set.


Over the course of a weekend, David Nott was joined by DNF faculty members Ammar Darwish, Rebekka Troller and Pete Mathew to present an ambitious programme of surgical training that was live streamed around the world. Modules covered included abdominal trauma, neurosurgery, maxillofacial surgery, ballistics and more. David was also joined by special guest lecturers Mounir Hakimi (orthopaedics) and Shehan Hettiaratchy (plastics) to form a world-class team of surgical specialists ready to reach out to surgeons in conflict zones and austere environments.

We were joined by up to 100 doctors from around 29 countries over the course the weekend, who were additionally able to pose their questions in real-time to the presenters and ask for advice on cases presenting to them in their localities.


COVID-19 has changed the way that we are able to deliver our training courses in 2020/21. The DigiHEST pilot study is extremely encouraging to our team as it shows that not only can we continue to deliver a high quality training product, but the use of live-streaming technology has implications for the future democratisation of surgical training for the austere environment. Our aim is to get back on the road and delivering face-to-face courses around the world again as soon as possible, but the hard work that has gone into piloting the concept of DigiHEST will inform how we can best deliver training in the future.