In March 2016, Providence Ventures led the latest fundraising round for Gauss Surgical, Inc. Dan Galles, a Partner at Providence Ventures, answers some key questions regarding the Company and its value proposition to health systems.
What does Gauss Surgical do? Why Gauss Surgical?
Gauss Surgical is the maker of Triton, a mobile technology-based surgical blood loss monitoring system. Triton uses an iPad-based software application that takes pictures of used sponges and blood canisters and applies a machine-learning algorithm to quantitatively estimate the amount of blood loss during a surgical procedure. Triton is currently focused on obstetrics applications, but has the potential to become the standard of care for all surgical applications. Today the standard of care for blood loss estimation is visualization (“eyeballing”) by the surgeon and anesthesiologist. Numerous studies show that this qualitative estimation method is highly variable and inaccurate resulting in cases of either under- or over-transfusion of blood. Inappropriate utilization of blood leads to significant clinical issues, as well as huge costs estimated at over $2 billion per year.
How can this partnership potentially help current Providence patients?
All patients undergoing surgery can benefit from the use of the Triton system to accurately quantify blood loss. Blood loss serves as a critical vital sign for the surgeon and anesthesiologist who collaborate together in making decisions about whether and when to transfuse blood. The real-time, accurate quantification of blood loss helps optimize transfusion decision-making leading to less cases of over- and under-transfusion. Under-transfusion is the most significant and severe risk as it can result in post-procedural anemia leading to significant complications. Over-transfusion, which occurs frequently (studies have shown that 20-66% of all blood transfusions are unnecessary), also leads to poorer clinical outcomes as patients receiving blood transfusions have longer recoveries and increased hospital lengths of stay.
How is Gauss helping to create the future of health care?
The future of healthcare relies in part on new technologies that have the dual impact of improving care and reducing costs. Gauss fits this profile by improving clinical outcomes and reducing costs through the optimization of blood transfusions.
Furthermore, wherever possible, healthcare decision-making needs to be driven by hard data. Triton brings science and quantifiable data into clinical decision-making in an area of medicine where that capability has not previously existed. Additionally, the platform leverages its vast database of cases to better inform physicians about what normal blood loss should be at a particular point in time during surgery. In this way, Triton serves as an early warning system for excessive blood loss which enables physicians to more quickly identify hemorrhage situations and appropriately intervene to improve outcomes. Lastly, the system integrates into the electronic health record ensuring accuracy of the patient record while simultaneously offloading work from the clinicians.
Finally, with the introduction of the mobile iPad-based platform in the operating room, the question is ‘what is the next thing we do with this tool?’ Gauss is already exploring alternatives to utilize the mobile technology in new and creative ways.
How will Providence and Gauss mutually benefit from this partnership?
Providence is continually looking for new solutions that enhance the quality of clinical care and outcomes for our patients. Triton has the potential to facilitate Providence’s mission by becoming a new, improved standard of care for our clinicians care and their surgical patients. The Triton system also delivers a great return on investment for Providence by reducing costly blood transfusions and avoiding clinical complications.
Likewise, Gauss can benefit significantly from its relationship with Providence which serves not only as a customer, but as a collaborative partner. Providence clinicians and program managers work closely with Gauss’ management team to improve upon the product in areas such as clinical workflow and data collection. Additionally, Providence provides Gauss with insights about new product opportunities by identifying other clinical needs that the Triton platform can address.
What happens next?
Currently, two Providence hospitals are deep in discussions with Gauss about piloting the Triton system, including collaborating with the company to identify important outcomes metrics to track that can help validate the value of the system. We expect the Triton system to deliver great value in these pilot studies, and look forward to helping expand the technology across the Providence system in Obstetrics and into other surgical applications as well. Ultimately, we are confident that Triton will be the standard of care for how blood loss is quantified in all operating rooms, not only for Providence, but for all health systems.