Theator Raises $40M To Improve Surgery Outcomes For Patients, Doctors, And Hospitals

In 2015, Tamir Wolf’s wife had an emergency appendectomy and returned to her Brooklyn home just 12 hours later. At the same time, Tamir’s boss also had an emergency appendectomy in New York City, ended up in the ICU and almost died. The variation in surgical outcomes for the same disease was so disparate that it spurred Tamir, a physician himself, to wonder what could be done to create more consistent surgical procedures. He created Theator with the goal of improving surgical outcomes and has since raised $40 million to develop a new software platform that leverages computer vision and AI to do just that. Its early clients include the Mayo Clinic and four major medical institutions.

From a storytelling perspective, Tamir faced a common challenge for founders with multiple clients. Should I tell the story through the lens of the ultimate benefactor (the patient), the user (the surgeon), or the institution (the hospital’s chief clinical officer)? All are viable protagonists. In this startup story, we’ll explore the problem through the eyes of all three.

The patient’s problem

Tamir’s “origin story” involving his wife and his boss presents the patient’s perspective. Living in a major city in the United States, a person requiring surgery expects their procedure to be performed to a consistently high standard. Patients understand that medical care is not perfect, but they believe that their surgeons are well trained, experienced, and should follow the procedure that is known to be most effective. Most surgeries have been done hundreds of times before, so your surgeon would have learned and applied the best approach. They would not imagine that different surgeons could use different protocols, including those that on average lead to poorer outcomes. The patient expects the best care that the current body of medical knowledge would provide. Unfortunately, they often learn that the reality is very different.

The doctor’s problem

Professional baseball players have a wealth of data and video analytics that inform how they pitch, hit and field. In business, marketers use tools like Gong to evaluate their customer communications and improve performance. For surgeons who perform life-saving surgery? Not so much. Although video captures many surgeries, surgeons lack access to tools that capture procedures, analyze performance, and make recommendations to improve methods and protocols. Surgeons train in medical school and attend conferences for continued learning, but there is no objective measure to track their daily performance and coach them on ways to improve. And worst of all, they likely aren’t aware that they could be doing better.

The problem of the head of department

The heads of clinical departments in hospitals aspire to offer the same quality of care to all patients, regardless of their doctor. Department heads wish to be able to identify and deploy the methods most likely to lead to successful surgical outcomes for all. Achieving equity in health care is challenging, but it is even more difficult without complete information. They would also like to optimize the efficiency of the procedures. One doctor may take 20 minutes, while another takes 2 hours for the same procedure. All they have to go on are operational reports, which are limited to providing information. Therefore, clinical heads fly blind. They do not have the necessary information to tell them whether there may be a protocol that has been shown to be more successful and productive; and patient confidentiality issues further complicate the process. These medical leaders lack the necessary tools to do so every one of your doctors does the best he can.

Surgical Intelligence Theator

Theator’s team of more than 50 people in Palo Alto and Tel Aviv is building a software platform to address these gaps. They are building a surgical intelligence platform for hospitals that enables doctors to improve performance. The theater does the following:

Capture procedures while preserving patient confidentiality — Patient confidentiality is essential for the Theator platform to de-identify images outside the patient’s body before making them available for review.

Analyze procedures using AI and computer vision – The platform processes the video, records the surgical process and notes the key steps of the process.

Provides information on methods and procedures – By mapping the best results with the specific procedures that led to them, Theator makes recommendations that can then be applied by all doctors in the department to improve patient care.

Here is an example. A recent study of 300,000 hysterectomies revealed that there was considerable variation in patient outcomes. One hospital wanted to provide more consistent results across populations and worked with Theator’s platform to try. When deploying the Theator platform, the hospital discovered that ureteral injury was higher in cases where surgeons did not properly examine the ureter during the procedure. With this new information, the department rolled out new protocols emphasizing the exploration of the ureters. With the deployment of the new procedure, physicians were 50% more likely to use the correct process. As a result, intraoperative events for patients were reduced.

As a startup storyteller, Tamir has chosen to introduce the narrative with the patient anecdote about his wife and his boss, because it’s a dramatic and memorable way to capture his audience’s attention. It then quickly shifts to the narration from the doctor’s perspective. The central story is told through this lens. The department head’s perspective comes at the end, when the business model is shared.

Theator hopes to improve patient health, physician performance, and the overall level of hospital care. If they keep that promise, Tamir’s story should have a happy ending for all three protagonists.

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Ikaroa is proud to announce the successful latest funding round of Theator, a company focused on leveraging tech to improve surgery outcomes for patients, doctors and hospitals, who have raised $40 million in equity funding. Theator’s technology platform uses AI algorithms, computer vision and wearables to provide objective monitoring, analytics and meaningful feedback to support better decisions and outcomes during surgery.

The funding round was led by Icon Ventures, with participation from Fuel Capital and Omidyar Network, as well as additional support from existing investors, including Insight Partners and SignalFire. Ikaroa is proud to join a host of innovators in supporting Theator with this strategic investment.

Theator’s platform gives doctors and surgeons real-time, comprehensive, hands-off oversight of every step during surgery, providing accurate measurements and data-driven insight into procedure performance. By providing easier and faster access to reliable data, Theator is enabling doctors, nurses, surgical teams and patients to benefit from better and more efficient surgeries.

Theator plans to use the new funding to expand its platform and focus on research and development initiatives to provide a safe, optimal and meaningful experience for everyone in the surgical care team.

At Ikaroa, we believe Theator’s success is a testament to the way technology can improve outcomes for people and are excited to be part of this journey. We look forward to seeing them truly revolutionize surgery care in the years to come.


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