KēlaHealth, the creator of an AI-driven surgical intelligence platform, has raised $12.9m in combined seed and Series A funding to accelerate the expansion of its technology to hospitals and surgical teams across the US.

The company closed a $2.9m round of seed financing alongside $10m in Series A financing led by Santé Ventures and Intuitive Ventures, and inclusive of grant funding from the National Science Foundation Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) Program.

Its platform helps to prevent avoidable complications while enhancing surgical care by delivering patient risk scoring using machine learning algorithms to match individual risk levels with care pathways that align with the unique needs of each surgical patient.

KēlaHealth CEO Dr. Bora Chang, MD, said: “Our vision is to apply the lessons learned from millions of previous surgeries for the benefit of every patient undergoing a procedure.

“Patients and their families, clinicians, and hospitals deserve the assurance that the risks of any surgery will be safely navigated by surgical teams with the best information available to them at every point in the surgical journey.

“We are thrilled to have a stellar group of surgeons, hospital centres, investors, and advisors working with us to realise the opportunity of precision surgery.”


Avoiding surgical complications

In the US, 51 million surgeries are performed annually, with an average complication rate of 15%, meaning millions of patients suffer harm and even sometimes loss after a procedure.

According to KēlaHealth, half of these complications are known to be avoidable, and contribute to $77bn in wasted healthcare costs each year.

By drawing on millions of previous surgeries, KēlaHealth claims to be able to match the right patient with the right procedure with the right precautions at the right time, leading to improved patient outcomes and significant hospital savings.


Proof of cost savings made using KēlaHealth

To date, KēlaHealth’s hospital partners have applied the company’s AI-powered platform in colorectal, vascular, cardiac, and orthopaedic surgical specialties.

“In our cardiac surgery department, our partnership with KēlaHealth has identified up to $3 million a year in cost savings by optimizing post-procedure management for our cardiac patients,” said Dr. Bruce Gewertz, surgeon-in-chief and chair of surgery at Cedars-Sinai Medical Center in Los Angeles.

“Their work showcases the opportunity for improved resource utilisation and data-driven clinical best practices across the surgical care continuum.”

Citing colliding trends in digital health and care optimisation, KēlaHealth’s investors emphasised the potential of KēlaHealth’s platform throughout the ecosystem of surgical care.

“KēlaHealth’s platform represents a powerful solution for providers and medical device partners looking to unlock the potential of data in pursuit of improved outcomes and lowering the cost of care,” said Oliver Keown, MD, Director of Intuitive Ventures.

“Data-driven surgery will positively transform the way both hospitals and physicians care for patients, and we are excited to team up with KēlaHealth to further innovate surgical care,” added Dennis McWilliams of Santé Ventures.