A telemedicine startup has launched an interactive software tool that could help hospitals to increase the number of surgical procedures they perform. It’s raised more than half of the $1.2 million it’s seeking, according to documents filed with the Securities and Exchange Commission.
Vipaar, a Birmingham, Alabama-based company, uses technology licensed from University of Alabama at Birmingham School of Medicine and has been refining it over the past three years in a collaboration of surgeons and engineers. Although it was originally developed for neurosurgery, it has applications for a broad range of surgical specialties, Drew Deaton, the CEO of Vipaar, told MedCity News in a phone interview.
The surgical proctoring software allows a surgical team to perform a procedure before a wide audience who can view the procedure in multiple sites. It can transmit images of the surgeon’s hand pointing to different parts of the anatomy of a surgical site as well as a scan that may be used for reference, added Deaton. The technology can help hospitals do more procedures because a surgeon who is a leading expert in his or her field, for example, can consult for symposiums remotely, reducing the amount of time they are away from the provider. It can also be used for remote consults.
Deaton previously worked for Medmined, a medical analytics firm, which was acquired by Cardinal Health in 2006. He noted that telemedicine has not had as much focus in the operating room, but the company is seeking to change that.
“We’re trying to solve the problems of trying to improve care and access to care at a low cost,” Deaton said. He declined to discuss the fundraising or the milestones it is hoping to reach with it.
Telemedicine is one area that has been championed by its supporters as away to reduce healthcare costs. Providers are evaluating it for a wide range of areas such as behavioral health, primary care and dermatology, particularly in rural areas where access to healthcare facilities can be an issue. Critics are skeptical that it provides the same quality of interaction that an in-person visit has.