Tech startup KēlaHealth raises $12.9m to deliver AI-powered, clinician-centered solutions to improve surgical care
KēlaHealth, a surgical intelligence platform that applies a dynamic cycle of patient-specific predictions, stratified interventions, and outcomes tracking to reduce surgical complications announced the closing of a $2.9 million Seed financing and milestone-based $10 million 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. These funds will accelerate the expansion of the KēlaHealth platform to hospitals and surgical partners across the United States.
In the U.S., 51 million surgeries are performed annually, with an average complication rate of 15 percent. This results in millions of patients suffering harm and loss after a procedure. Tragically, half of these complications are known to be avoidable, and contribute to $77 billion in wasted healthcare costs each year.
KēlaHealth helps to prevent these avoidable complications while enhancing surgical care by delivering stratified patient risk scoring. The company's state-of-the-art platform uses machine learning algorithms to match individual risk levels with graduated pathways of care that align with the unique needs of each surgical patient.
These personalized efforts bring surgery into a new era of precision medicine: with KēlaHealth, surgeons can 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.
KēlaHealth was founded by CEO, Bora Chang, MD, and advisors Erich Huang MD, PhD, and Zhifei Sun, MD, at Duke University Health System. As practiced clinicians, all of them understood, firsthand, the unique priorities and challenges facing surgical teams.
Erich Huang, Chief Data Officer for Quality at Duke University Health System said: "As a trained surgeon, I know the complexity of decision-making in caring for surgical patients. We began this work because we knew that an objective, risk-based stratification tool could help providers deliver the highest levels of care."
Bora Chang, CEO of KēlaHealth added: "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 centers, investors, and advisors working with us to realize the opportunity of precision surgery."
To date, KēlaHealth's hospital partners have applied the company's AI-powered platform in colorectal, vascular, cardiac, and orthopedics surgical specialties.
Bruce Gewertz, MD, FACS, Surgeon-in-Chief and Chair of Surgery at Cedars-Sinai Medical Center said: "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. Their work showcases the opportunity for improved resource utilization and data-driven clinical best practices across the surgical care continuum."
Citing colliding trends in digital health and care optimization, KēlaHealth's investors emphasized the potential of the solution throughout the ecosystem of surgical care.
Oliver Keown, MD, Director of Intuitive Ventures said: "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."
Dennis McWilliams of Santé Ventures said: "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."