Smart Surgery

The Virtuous Cycle – Leveraging Big Data in the Operating Room | #1

20 Oct 2020

Why does it matter?

Because it strikes at solving a problem of global scale. In the US alone, medical malpractice is the 3rd most frequent cause of death. While this is a dire fact, there is no need for despair. With almost 50% of surgical errors contributing to deaths being avoidable, a solution is in sight. And that comes in the form greater process standardisation and data capture.

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For years we have been hearing that a new world looms on the horizon. A world guided by data. Some even speak of the datafication of reality: taking information that was largely ignored, transforming it into a quantifiable form, and using it in new ways. This vision is inextricably linked to our mission at caresyntax: unleashing the data treasure of operating rooms.

It is now time to implement these changes to reduce mortality and improve patient care.

In this article, I want to introduce you to the caresyntax ® Virtuous Cycle, which illustrates how caresyntax’ ecosystem works. The loop involves our three flagship product offerings PRIME365, qvident, and Periop Insight. Through a combination of Internet of Things (IoT) technology and Big Data, we shed light on patients’ surgical journey. Where surgeons previously had to rely on their gut feeling, caresyntax provides them with tangible, actionable data to empower their decisions – and improve overall patient safety. 

The Virtuous Cycle is best understood as a negative feedback loop. Drawing upon ‘Complexity Theory’, think of the operating room (OR) as a set of interconnected elements that are in flux. It consists of surgical headlights, anaesthesia circuits, blood warmers, defibrillators, robotic surgical systems and many more. Changes in one element affect other elements. This makes the operating room a very dynamic environment, where small perturbations can have major implications.

Our software acts as a fully workflow embedded system that consists of four steps: data-capture, data-analysis, process improvement, and continuous monitoring.

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The first stage is a perfect use-case of Big Data in the OR. PRIME365, our IoT platform, collects surgical data from various sources. The data is a mix of structured and unstructured data. This may include the starting time and duration of surgical procedures, or even video recordings of surgeries.

What makes our platform unique is that it solves a serious pain point for surgeons. In the past, surgeons had to commit to one company due to the inoperability of devices from different manufacturers. Our platform solved this through caresyntax’ proprietary decoder that bundles various data-points irrespective of their manufacturer. Now surgeons don’t have to commit to one manufacturer. Instead they can select the best systems according to their needs.

I believe that this only logical. By definition, the power of Big Data stems from its manifold sources. I am glad that we have solved this bug to unleash the true power of Big Data in the OR.

The second stage adds qvident, our content management platform, into the equation. This is where all the previously collected data gets displayed on an easy-to-use dashboard. Take a video recording as an example. qvident allows surgeons to play back entire surgeries. Once an adverse event has been identified, surgeons can quickly and easily report it. The team can later quickly analyse what happened, annotate findings into the videos and share the findings with rest of the team. This prevents the same mistakes from happening again and rounds off stage three of our cycle.

What strikes me as really powerful is that the benefit of our offering goes far beyond the operating room. Think about its usage for surgical trainees. Medical professors are able to beam the insights from the OR into any lecture hall across the world. Later on, trainees can assess their own interventions as part of their training.

Let’s step back into the cycle one more time. Once surgeons have gathered all relevant data, analysed their performances, and implemented process improvements, Periop Insight, our data analytics tool, comes into play. Periop Insight enables surgeons to monitor real-time data from the OR. This not only enables hospitals to track process improvement, but also to pre-emptively intervene in case of anomalies.

I believe that this embodies the gist of Big Data’s promise: uncovering what is happening through correlations and patterns. As Viktor Mayer-Schoenberger and Kenneth Cukier wrote in their bestseller Big Data, this may not tell us the why behind everything, but it alerts us to what is happening.

And in the Operating Room this can save lives.

This article was first published on Linkedin on 13th October, 2020

Link to the original article.

Bjoern von Siemens

Written by Bjoern von Siemens

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

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