Los Altos, California-based Gauss Surgical, which has developed a blood loss tracking app for surgeons, raised $12.6 million in a round led by Providence Ventures, the investment arm of Providence Health & Services, with participation from Jump Capital. Existing investors Promus Ventures, LifeForce Ventures, Summation Health Ventures, and the Stanford-StartX Fund also participated. This brings the company’s total funding to at least $24.6 million.
Gauss also announced that last year, in December 2015, the company’s board appointed Siddarth Satish, Gauss Surgical’s founder and CTO, to the CEO post. The company’s previous CEO, Milton McColl, now serves as Chairman of the Board.
“The company was the culmination of some neat findings that I had done when I was doing the biodesign course series at Stanford, [where] I was a graduate student,” Satish told MobiHealthNews. “That put me in the OR for the first time ever. I am an engineer by training, I had never seen a surgery, blood and guts, that whole thing before. The teacher had us look at critical needs, more on needs than solutions. We ended up, a group of guys and I, looked at a number of different needs we had been studying and one of the big ones that really intrigued us was this problem of intraoperative blood loss being just a completely made up parameter. The Joint Commission mandates that every surgery has a blood loss value, EBL, associated with it, as part of all of the EMR standards and things. But it’s really the only vital sign that’s sort of made up.”
Satish then participated in the StartX Stanford University accelerator in 2012 and began developing the product.
Gauss offers surgeons and their teams an FDA-cleared app that help track blood loss, called Triton. About a year ago, Gauss got a new FDA clearance for the app, which can now estimate the surgical blood loss in canisters that hold blood. Surgeons can estimate blood loss in surgical suction containers using the iPad's camera. The app enables the user to take pictures of the surgical canisters and then send the images up to the cloud for analysis. At that point, an algorithm estimates the hemoglobin content and the blood loss.
Gauss Surgical's Triton app had already received an FDA 510(k) clearance, in May 2014, for a feature in the app that uses the iPad’s camera to estimate the amount of blood lost during a surgery with surgical sponges. The system analyzes surgical sponges that have blood on them, counts how many sponges there are, and sends data from the app to a cloud server. The app then displays totals for estimated blood lost, estimated hemoglobin lost, and a sponge count.
Some of the health systems that use Triton include HackensackUMC, Cedars-Sinai Medical Center, the MemorialCare Health System, and UC Irvine Medical Center.
“The whole point of the funding was really to help us accelerate our Salesforce buildout,” Satish said. “We really arrived at what we believe to be a great strategy. We are really focusing on obstetrics and burns, after these lessons we have learned, and the amount of data we’ve gathered over the past year, we think those are the two areas that can make a really big impact as immediately as possible in clinical care. Obstetrics specifically is an area where a number societies have started to strongly recommend a method of formally quantifying blood loss. They’ve come out and said it should be done in every delivery. That’s encouraging to us. It’s a great synergy between clinical societies and protocols and new technology. So those are the areas we want to focus on.”