Feb 10, 2021

AI surgical platform Theator raises $15.5m to expand

computer vision
healthcare inequalities
Leila Hawkins
2 min
AI surgical platform Theator raises $15.5m to expand
The funding will fast-track Theator’s strategic growth and support their mission to use AI and computer vision to eradicate disparity in surgical care...

AI-driven surgical platform Theator has raised $15.5 million to support its expansion plans, which include scaling commercial operations and partnerships with US providers and growing its R&D team, with the ultimate aim of democratising surgical decision-making. 

“Thanks to support from our new and existing investors, Theator is leveraging routine video capture and AI-based analyses of surgical data to build a surgical future where best practices are more widely understood, and surgical decision-making is democratized” the company’s CEO and co-founder Dr. Tamir Wolf said.

Via a press release Theator cited that black children in the US are three times as likely as white children to die within a month of surgery, and worldwide, an estimated 5 billion people lack access to safe surgical care. “Surgeons’ efforts to overcome these gross inequalities are stunted by an antiquated surgical apprenticeship model that has placed residents and surgeons in a black box: with knowledge and scope of practice that is greatly limited to their own personal training and surgical experiences” the release said. 

The company is aiming to change this via their AI-powered platform, which is based on smart annotation and cutting edge video analytics technology. This extracts and annotates key moments from surgical procedures, allowing surgeons to review operations and access detailed insights within minutes, with the aim of increasing surgeons’ performance, efficiency, and productivity.

Over a dozen medical centers have contributed to Theator’s surgical video dataset so far, which now contains more than 400,000 minutes of curated surgical video encompassing over 80,000 intraoperative moments. 

“Intraoperative video footage, and by extension video-based analyses, is at the core of surgical innovation” Wolf added. “Surgeons, medical systems and forward-thinking professional societies have all come to realize its potential value in enhancing surgical care and patient safety.” 

Theator’s oversubscribed Series A funding round was led by Insight Partners, joined by new investor Blumberg Capital, and supported by a number of investors including NFX, 23andMe’s Co-founder and CEO Anne Wojcicki, and former Netflix Chief Product Officer Neil Hunt. Theator has raised a total of $18.5 million to date.

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Jun 18, 2021

Skin Analytics wins NHSX award for AI skin cancer tool 

2 min
Skin Analytics uses AI to detect skin cancer and will be deployed across the NHS to ease patient backlogs

An artificial intelligence-driven tool that identifies skin cancers has received an award from NHSX, the NHS England and Department of Health and Social Care's initiative to bring technology into the UK's national health system. 

NHSX has granted the Artificial Intelligence in Health and Care Award to DERM, an AI solution that can identify 11 types of skin lesion. 

Developed by Skin Analytics, DERM analyses images of skin lesions using algorithms. Within primary care, Skin Analytics will be used as an additional tool to help doctors with their decision making. 

In secondary care, it enables AI telehealth hubs to support dermatologists with triage, directing patients to the right next step. This will help speed up diagnosis, and patients with benign skin lesions can be identified earlier, redirecting them away from dermatology departments that are at full capacity due to the COVID-19 backlog. 

Cancer Research has called the impact of the pandemic on cancer services "devastating", with a 42% drop in the number of people starting cancer treatment after screening. 

DERM is already in use at University Hospitals Birmingham and Mid and South Essex Health & Care Partnership, where it has led to a significant reduction in unnecessary referrals to hospital.

Now NHSX have granted it the Phase 4 AI in Health and Care Award, making DERM available to clinicians across the country. Overall this award makes £140 million available over four years to accelerate the use of artificial intelligence technologies which meet the aims of the NHS Long Term Plan.

Dr Lucy Thomas, Consultant Dermatologist at Chelsea & Westminster Hospital, said: “Skin Analytics’ receipt of this award is great news for the NHS and dermatology departments. It will allow us to gather real-world data to demonstrate the benefits of AI on patient pathways and workforce challenges. 

"Like many services, dermatology has severe backlogs due to the COVID-19 pandemic. This award couldn't have come at a better time to aid recovery and give us more time with the patients most in need of our help.”

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