Health IT, Startups

Three companies blend their skills to create surgical patient management platform

Telemedicine company InTouch Health teamed up with two startups — SafeStart Medical and TapCloud — to debut a new product called InTouch Surgical.

Surgeons doing surgery in operating theatre.

InTouch Health, a telemedicine company, teamed up with two startups — SafeStart Medical and TapCloud — to debut a new product called InTouch Surgical. The tool, which functions as a surgical patient management platform, was selected as the solution of choice for the more than 220 hospitals in Ontario, Canada’s 14 Local Health Integration Networks.

Let’s take a closer look at the offerings of the three organizations.

Simply put, Santa Barbara, California-based InTouch Health offers telehealth services. Recently, it agreed to acquire TruClinic and launched a collaboration with Jefferson Health and Mission Health.

SafeStart Medical‘s platform helps reduce surgical errors. Headquartered in Chicago, the startup’s mission is to stop never events in the operating room — situations like wrong-site or wrong-patient surgeries.

In a phone interview, SafeStart CEO Dr. Richard Vazquez said data shows 40 to 50 percent of these never events are set in motion in the office.

“We put SafeStart together to bridge that and to stop communication errors,” he said. Instead, the startup wants to “start the process the minute the patient meets the surgeon.”

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The company’s platform encompasses a patient safety record that includes clinical documents, patient allergies, consent forms and surgeon-annotated photos. It also includes pre-op reviews and sign-offs by the surgical team and the patient.

The third company of the bunch is Northbrook, Illinois-based TapCloud, whose technology engages patients when they’re outside the clinical setting, such as while recovering from surgery.

After downloading the TapCloud app, patients see a word cloud filled with phrases like “OK,” “stuffy,” “bloated” and “good.” They’re then invited to tap on the words that apply to them. Additionally, patients can use the app to get information customized to their needs. For instance, if the individual is having surgery, the app would give them pre-op content like a list of what to bring to the hospital. After the surgery, the TapCloud platform adjusts to include advice for how best to recover.

“When you put those two things together, what you end up with is a patient experience where [patients] say, ‘This was built just for me,'” TapCloud CEO Tom Riley said in a phone interview.

Clinicians can see the patient’s information via a dashboard and can update care plans as needed.

InTouch Health was the first organization to find out about the Ontario Telemedicine Network’s search for a surgical patient management solution. But it its technology alone didn’t completely fit the bill. Thus, the company contacted Matter, the Chicago incubator with which SmartStart and TapCloud are involved. Through a series of connections and a lot of networking, the three companies got together and developed InTouch Surgical, which fuses their capabilities into one solution.

The platform makes use of safety protocols from the time the patient is enrolled into the surgical suite through discharge and recovery. Patients can use the app to follow their care plan, and the clinical team is able to virtually monitor the patient’s progress.

Photo: Simonkr, Getty Images