Smart Surgery

Data-Driven Surgery: 3 Keys to Transformational Change in the OR

06 Jan 2023

Digital surgery is a buzzword that has been used for the past several years to refer to anything from robotics to connected devices in the operating room (OR). Data-driven surgery means looking at what data providers are asking for and what they need. There are three keys to bringing data-driven surgery and its transformational change to the OR:

  • We need to connect more data points (pre-, perioperative, and post-operative) that can be used to improve efficiency and quality of care.
  • We need to connect more stakeholders. We have a multitude of new stakeholders entering the picture. We are not only talking about surgeons and anesthesiologists, we are talking about OR management, the c-suite of the hospital, payers, insurance companies, medical malpractice companies and of course, medical device companies, coming together as a broader set of stakeholders that are providers of data and users of data; and very importantly the patient, who enters the picture both as a provider of data and recipient of information.
  • The third element is a very important one: technologies and data storage that is procedure neutral and vendor neutral, so no matter what surgical procedure is performed or who is performing it, what devices are used, that data needs to be captured.

In the last few years, we have seen the market demand for data-driven surgery growing tremendously. It is a combination of technology becoming more mature, more pressure on quality and efficiency, and a cultural mindset shift.

All of these factors have had a lot of buzz and attention, but it is only in the last few years where we have seen the market demand growing tremendously. It is a combination of technology becoming more mature, more pressure on quality and efficiency, and a cultural mindset shift. There is a new generation of surgeons coming into the picture who are used to integrated devices and integrated platforms, so there is a lot of market demand and a lot of growth in this sector. Most surgical companies are excited about the potential of digital and there is a lot of investment flowing into this area.

Transformation begins with digital enablement and cooperation

For MedTech companies that are centered around making devices that have a core business selling consumables, it is very hard to transition from that to a software as a service (SaaS) model overnight. There is no surgical company that does it all and knows it all. The data platform approach that includes pre- and post-operative data as well, that is something that those companies have very little exposure to and very little experience in. In their core business or their core therapeutic areas, they are the specialists, and they should remain as specialists and build out their therapeutic areas both physically and digitally. Then there needs to be another layer of companies and solutions to capture the meta data and longitudinal data; not as a replacement model, but one centered around digital enablement and collaboration, similar to what Johnson & Johnson has done with Microsoft.

Caresyntax has partnerships ongoing with large data companies and large medical device companies and we really see the synergies of the ecosystem approach playing out to the favor of both parties: the established medical device companies and the new data layer companies that are focusing on surgery.

Surgeons have been wanting data-driven solutions for a long time. They are performance-oriented, almost like high-performance athletes, and the majority of surgeons want to get improve their skills, they want to deliver better outcomes, but until now they have lacked the tools for that.

One of the most important steps that Caresyntax took early on was to talk to insurance companies and bring onboard large health insurers--as well as reinsurers, and risk insurers--to help find and help design the solution in a way that has been beneficial for them as well.

Overcoming the technology budget hurdle

One of the main hurdles to the adoption of integrated technology is the budgets within the hospitals and the availability of financing for this kind of a solution. As a result, we have looked to the payors and the risk-bearing entities because they will be benefiting from better outcomes and a healthier population that they insure. One of the most important steps that Caresyntax took early on in the journey was to talk to insurance companies and bring onboard large health insurers--as well as reinsurers, and risk insurers--to help find and help design the solution in a way that has been beneficial for them as well. It has provided a growth moment for the company where we can come into a hospital and offer not only the tech, but also a financing solution.

This blog is an excerpt from The Mullings Group interview, “Digital Health in MedTech and Challenges Ahead,” hosted by Joe Mullings in October 2022 with a panel that included Bjoern von Siemens, Founder of Caresyntax. To view the complete interview, visit the Joe Mullings podcast on YouTube.

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Björn von Siemens

Written by Björn von Siemens

Founder of Caresyntax | Healthcare Investor | Passionate about data-driven solutions to improve human health

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