Caresyntax CTO shares how he relies on fully managed integration services to help provider customers improve surgical outcomes
January 9, 2023
Caresyntax is on a mission to make surgery smarter and safer. The Caresyntax platform integrates surgical video data with other systems, including electronic health records (EHRs), and analyzes the data to detect surgical errors. Caresytnax shares the findings with its provider customers so they can learn from any errors and prevent them from happening in the future.
In this video, Ken Wu, Caresyntax chief technical officer, explains the complexity of integrating high-fidelity surgical video data with EHR data, and why they chose Envoy Managed Services for the creation, monitoring, and maintenance of data integrations.
Watch the video or read the full transcript of Ken’s interview with Melanie Medina, content director for Rhapsody.
Melanie: What is Caresytnax?
Ken: Caresyntax is a company that develops a technology platform that transforms surgery. Our mission is to make surgery smarter and safer and to save lives.
Melanie: Why is this such a critical mission in healthcare?
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and Johns Hopkins University, accidental death from surgery is ranked the fourth-leading cause of death in the United States. If not because of COVID in 2020, it would be the third-leading cause of death.
More than 100,000 people die from unintended surgical error in the United States each year. This is the equivalent of about four Boeing 747 jumbo plane crashes every week. These statistics are mind boggling. We hope that we can make a difference in saving people’s lives.
Melanie: How does Caresyntax help reduce errors in surgery?
Ken: Caresyntax works with healthcare providers and surgeons. We acquire high-fidelity surgical records, starting with the surgical videos. Those are really one of the key pieces of data we want to acquire, because surgical videos document everything that happened during surgery.
And then we couple those videos or augment those videos with additional EHR data. For example, patient contacts, patient clinical history, and put them together. You’ve got a very rich record of the patient, what happened during surgery, and the patient’s history so that we can do additional analysis.
We employ AI machine learning technology to analyze the videos so that they give us additional insights of what happened during the surgery. We detect surgical variability, analyze them, and share those insights with the surgical team so that they can see the variations and learn from it, and maybe coach the staff and prevent the same mistake from happening again. That’s how we empower our customers to prevent medical surgical complications, influence the outcome of surgery, and save lives.
In the surgical space, not many companies do what we do. In a sense we’re defining the marketplace. Our platform can help providers increase the efficiency in the OR, improve the surgical skill of the surgeons, and then improve the surgical outcome.
At the end of the day, really the patient is the winner. If the hospital can increase the throughput, that means more patients can get surgery done earlier. Surgeons’ skills can improve, and a better outcome or less complication from surgery, and hence saving more lives.
Looking back in the last 10 or 20 years, there’s a lot of advancement in technology, but if you think about it, in the surgical area, not much has happened.
There’s a lot of other technologies around workflow, administrative improvement and things like that. But surgery being the front and center of healthcare, a big portion of the revenues go through the operating room. But not much has improved in terms of using technology to transform the surgery.
Caresyntax is on a mission to improve that, to work with, to partner with healthcare providers to transform surgery and get it to the next level using technology. It’s about saving lives in the surgical space.
Melanie: What systems do you integrate?
Ken: Data requirements for our platform are comprehensive. We need video data. We also need structured data from EHR like clinical data and patient data. We also need financial data and operating room efficiency data, such as room turnover and operating room utilization.
We have a comprehensive set of data that we can engage in integrated analytics across all these data sets, then we are able to distill the insight that we believe will be valuable to our providers.
Data acquisition is a complicated task and it’s very complex. Every hospital has a different environment that we have to integrate with. That capacity obviously exists, but that’s one of the key channels we get the data from. Data requirements for our platform is significant, and we want to make sure we have that robust channel there using technology in the marketplace, using a partner that we can trust — a partner who is experienced in this space, to help us to acquire the data that we need.
Melanie: You have prior experience building integration teams. At Caresyntax, you chose to partner with Rhapsody instead of building a large integration team again. Why did you choose this route at Caresyntax?
Ken: Before I joined Caresyntax, I was with another other company, and I managed a team of integration engineers — about 10 to 15 people. The only mission of the team was to implement interfaces and maintain them.
It’s not easy and there’s a lot of work in terms of implementing interfaces to different customers’ environments. That’s just the first step.
Once those interfaces go live, now you have to support them, you have to maintain them, you have to monitor them 24 by 7. There are a lot of things that could go wrong. Data is a key ingredient in our platform, and we have to make sure it is always available in a timely manner.
The amount of work and the complexity involved to develop, monitor and support those interfaces is significant. Any company that wants to do it on themselves — it requires a lot of resources to build out a team from a capacity standpoint and from a skill set standpoint. It required a tremendous amount of effort and cost.
So when I joined Caresyntax, we had the same needs in terms of acquiring the data to empower our platform. I was thinking is it better that we build up our own team of integrations or do we just leverage industry expertise or partner expertise to do this?
We did some analysis, and my conclusion is that we want to leverage our partner who know the space, who is the expert in the space, who can help us to take care of all these complexities and effort in terms of setting up the integration and then monitor and maintain them in production. And 24 by seven.
That allows us to focus on what we do best at Caresyntax. We can focus on developing our digital surgery platform that is beneficial to our customers. We can focus on innovating our products and solutions to save lives. To empower our providers and surgeons to improve the surgical outcome. For us it’s really a no brainer situation.
Melanie: Where does Caresyntax operate?
Ken: Caresyntax is small, but we operate globally. We have a customer base in the U.S., in E.U., in Australia and other parts of the world.
The integration complexity increases because our footprint is global. In E.U., there’s a lot of regulations and also the local market is different.
That also increases the level of complexity in terms of data integration. And we have customers in E.U., and the level of integration, the complexity of it, ranging from a standard basic HL7 to zero standard. Zero standard being that we have to really dig into the database and understand where the data resides and to implement some type of integration to get the data out of the database directly. Versus some hospital that speaks standard using HL7, that makes it much easier.
It’s a whole spectrum of variety and complexities that come with it. Partners like Rhapsody understand the market. They have resources in those markets, and their product is well accepted in those markets.
It’s a valuable partnership for us to go to market together. And Rhapsody did a fantastic job helping us onboard customers in Europe that were complicated to integrate. One customer that we have in Europe, like I said, we have to go deep into the database.
The database model is in German, so we have to understand how the database structure and where the data reside. So there’s a lot of work trying to piece together those data that we need in our platform. It’s a long journey but Rhapsody was able to work with the customer, work with our partner, and work with us together and able to implement interface that we need to empower our platform.
Melanie: What other solutions did you evaluate before choosing Envoy Managed Services?
Ken: We did evaluate some other options in the marketplace. I mentioned my previous job. I was also in charge of data integration and interestingly, we used another product called Mirth, and we did a strategic decision to migrate from Mirth to Rhapsody because we believe Rhapsody is a better tool that we can use from data integration standpoint.
After I joined Caresyntax, we also looked at different options including other competitors or reps in the marketplace. But eventually we picked Rhapsody because of the Envoy offering. Not only the technology, the engine that you use is proven in our view. If we didn’t use Envoy, we would have had to build our own team internally, which would have been very costly.
Melanie: You joined Rhapsody for the annual user group conference, CONNECT. The theme for 2022 is Healthy Data, Healthy People. How does this theme resonate with your mission at Caresyntax?
Ken: When I heard Healthy Data. Healthy People., I thought, wow. That’s aligned well to our mission. Our mission is to make surgeries smarter and safer and to improve surgical outcome. So healthier people are really a better outcome in our sense, in terms of surgical outcome. And that really is the same mission in terms of improving healthcare. For us it’s more specialized in healthcare in terms of surgical outcome.
To improve the surgical outcome, we need data. So better data, healthier data, is really what we need. The whole statement, healthier data, healthier people, is aligned well to our mission.
Melanie: What are your impressions of CONNECT?
Ken: I was impressed by the audience and the participants here. The audience is a mix of technology people, operational, and then business stakeholders — a great mix of people represent provider space. We have the same customer base, the same type of customer that we are serving.
It’s great to see our partnership, Rhapsody and Caresyntax together, and creating a solution that will empower providers. At the end of the day, we have a common mission, to improve healthcare, lower costs, improve quality, and improve surgical outcomes — back to the theme, healthier data, healthier people.
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