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Caresyntax uses software and AI to improve patient outcomes in the operating room
Steven Loeb and Bambi Francisco interview Tim Lantz, President and Chief Operating Officer at Caresyntax, a company that uses software and AI to improve patient outcomes in the operating room.
The data gathered by Caresyntax can be used by the care team live, during a procedure, and accessed by those outside the operating room via the platform’s telehealth link. After a procedure, the Caresyntax platform provides insights that help surgeons benchmark and improve their care, hospital administrators use surgical resources more efficiently, medical device companies advance better products, and insurance companies understand risk and devise more tailored policies.
Founded in 2013, the company has raised $177.5 million in venture funding, including a $100 million round in April.
For these digital health podcasts, our goal is to also understand these three high-level questions: How are we empowering the consumer? Are we creating productivity that also allows us to see overall economic costs go down? How is this advancement changing the role of the doctor?
Highlights from the interview:
Caresyntax is a software and data company that's focused on digital surgery, with the goal of improving operational outcomes, clinical outcomes, and financial outcomes within the operating room. The platform serves surgeons and the hospitals that they practice at, as well as insurance companies and medical technology companies, with the goal of bringing all of these groups together.
There has been an explosion of data and technology in healthcare but you don't see it as much in the operating room. That's because, unlike a lot of other medical modalities, the OR is a very physical place, where there's a team and a patient open on a table. While there's documentation and templates that are used, it's very time consuming, and the electronic medical record just doesn't translate quite as well into that environment.
A lot of the innovation in healthcare has been more around expensive medical treatments, including understanding drug interventions and managing drug costs, chronic disease management and end of life care and population health. There's been less emphasis on looking at surgery, where a lot of the technology innovation has been geared towards trying to develop better devices and implantables.
Caresyntax supports all aspects of the surgery, meaning before, during, and after the operation. It starts by looking at what's going on with the patient, even as that surgery is being scheduled and then that workflow, and then it carries into its intraoperative product, which is used during the case. That can help with setting up a room and managing quality checklists, and then it also gives the surgeon a better line of sight during the surgery via video, image and audio. Finally, it captures that data and those images and videos so that they can evaluate the surgery after it's done.
The company is incorporating more financial data into its platform, including looking at the cost of providing care, as well as what economic benefit care is generating to the provider. The cost to the insurance company is the revenue to the provider, so there's often a misalignment of incentives between them: the insurance companies and the government want to spend less but there's pressure on the hospitals and surgeons still want to make more. By layering in the economics of surgery, Caresyntax can align some of those economic incentives.
Roughly 400,000 people a year die from postoperative complications with surgery; globally, that number is closer to 4 million a year. The opportunity for Caresyntax is to create an environment where every surgeon, and every hospital, has the tools and the information they need to get better and to mitigate that risk. The risk is always going to be there, but Caresyntax can provide the tools to identify it and to manage it, and to be proactive about it.
Almost every surgeon that Lantz has ever spoken with wants more of this technology, and they truly want to do better, but they want to be able to use the technology in a way that is thoughtful in their workflow, where it doesn't create a ton of extra work for them.
Hospitals are still the lion's share of Caresyntax’s end users and Lantz expects that to continue to be the case. There are about 6,000 hospitals in the US, and Caresyntax is currently in roughly 150; on a global basis, it’s in more than 300 hospitals.
According to a McKinsey study, the US saw a 35% drop in surgical case volume during COVID, while Caresyntax customers saw a drop of only 19%, which is 16% better than the national average. This equated to over $300,000 in additional revenue per operating room, plus over $500,000 in cost savings through better utilization.
That means that those hospitals didn't see as drastic a drop in their revenue. Also, it helped patients maintain access to care, allowing them to get the surgeries they needed.
- During COVID, Caresyntax implemented a virtual care solution, which isn't yet generally available. It allows for medical device reps to be able to have remote telepresence in the OR, which can be really helpful in cases where hospitals want to limit the number of people. It also allows the surgical teams to still get the support from the device rep, even if they're not physically present. Another use case is remote proctoring and surgeon support; if a surgeon is in an outlying area or a remote hospital and has do a procedure, they can expert from a medical center in a big city be able to remote in and proctor.
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