An appropriate adage to describe the work of Fogarty Innovation graduate Prescient Surgical is “The difference between stumbling blocks and stepping stones is how you use them.” In a year that presented unfathomable challenges for the healthcare industry as a whole, this small startup with a handful of employees overcame numerous hurdles to achieve incredible sales that rose 215% year over year.
Prescient’s CleanCision is a technology proven to greatly reduce the incidence of surgical site infections (SSI). Despite long-standing efforts to curb SSI, three out of 20 patients undergoing procedures such as high-risk abdominal and colorectal surgeries will develop an infection, resulting in an increased hospital stay, readmission, and potentially, a higher risk of death.
By working closely with surgeons and hospitals, the team has developed a groundbreaking device that seamlessly integrates into current care protocols. The technology combines wound protection and irrigation into an intuitive and easy-to-use retraction system that deploys quickly and immediately begins to clear harmful bacteria that may invade the incision during surgery.
Overcoming COVID-19 impact to come back strong
Like many startups, Prescient was impacted by COVID and the subsequent suspension of elective surgical cases, but is coming back strong as hospitals ease their limitations along with California’s official reopening.
The company reacted quickly to COVID-19, streamlining the business to cover essential business expenses, including their approach to sales. “After we commercialized, we had a great first quarter in 2020, but then unfortunately the pandemic hit, and our sales reps were no longer allowed to go into the hospitals,” says Jon Coe, co-founder and CEO of Prescient. “If you track our sales revenue, you can see how it fluctuated in tandem with the closing and re-opening of businesses and rise and fall of hospitals restrictions due to COVID.”
While difficult, the plan paid off as Prescient is now seeing a strong uptick in sales. “The OR is roaring back to life and we’ve kept busy with a flurry of orders,” says Jon. “COVID forced us to change how we did business, and that has helped us become more efficient, thus moving us toward profitability.”
Most of this growth has been organic, with existing accounts increasing their utilization, complemented by a consistent cadence of new hospital customers. In addition, CleanCision has a 94% re-order rate, and has won steady average selling price increases, as hospitals recognize the tremendous economic value of managing infection rates.
Concept continues to prove its worth
Demand for the device has been driven by its effectiveness, which has been consistently proven. For example, results across eight different studies covering 800 patients demonstrate that CleanCision reduces SSI by 80%. The device is not only the sole technology shown to reduce SSI, but has now also been shown to reduce urinary tract infections and sepsis, the leading causes for hospital readmission.
“We are thrilled with the feedback we have received from surgeons. Their use of our technology has a multiplier effect as their colleagues see the benefits firsthand,” says Jon.
It also was recently featured in the Journal of Surgical Research, which found that CleanCision reduced the length of hospital stays by one day, offering tremendous economic and clinical benefits to the hospital as well as improving patient satisfaction.
“It’s exciting to see hospitals committing to investments in preventative care,” Jon says. “We have achieved numerous milestones this year, which are demonstrating our capability as a stand-alone business. We look forward to the next step as we begin to reinvest profits into building complementary technologies that will aid even more patients.”