IDENTI Medical, which operates in the field of medical information technology, “makes order” in operating rooms, by providing “inventory management systems in hospital procedure rooms and operating rooms that help improve OR inventory cross-organizational processes in medical organizations and multinational companies.” • The savings it permits helps hospitals better understand their true profits and true hospital OR inventory expenses.
The reality in the medical industry shows that there is a gap between the level of clinical innovation and the level of operational innovation. When it comes to innovative clinical care and physicians are the decision-makers, hospitals will respond more positively and invest the most financial resources to infuse the technology.
“We are seeing departments, with state-of-the-art clinical technology on the other hand, still managing surgical implants, tissues and other medical supplies manually, with patches or typing,” says company CEO Shlomo Matityahu. “Medical logistics, when done smartly, efficiently and cost-effectively, can bring value to hospitals and patients themselves much more than just another robot.”
If instead of saying “medical logistics” we say “the company that makes sure you do not forget medical products inside your patient during surgery,” maybe its products will suddenly look as sexy as a robot or a home ultrasound device. But in terms of IDENTI, it allows hospitals to reduce waste and save a lot of money, and if there is money to be saved, there is also money to be made.
There are always surprises and emergencies in hospitals
And now to the world of hospitals. “We identified a problem in the hospitals, that they work with very expensive equipment, a lot of components, and all this in a complex and very difficult environment to manage, mostly around charge capture processes. In the hospital it is difficult to achieve one particular process routine. There are always surprises, everything happens in an emergency. The hospital is also a not-so-logistically advanced site. They never have time to review processes and move forward,” Matityahu explains.
However, the need is high. “Suppose a company reports that it has to retrieve a particular implant from a particular batch. We must know exactly what implant is in each patient’s body. Of course, you cannot just open the patient and take a look. You may be surprised to know that there is no perfect record of 100% of these implants.
Sometimes the emergency conditions do not allow, Matityahu points out. Also, let’s say a doctor discovers a moment before surgery that the implant or stent he needs is not available. OR inventory management must be meticulous and accurate. Since it is not like that, the result is that shelves are over stocked—with very expensive products, which can sometimes even expire.
“Hospitals, especially the least advanced ones, do not really know how much a particular operation costs, what items were used. How is it possible to run an organization like this at all?” Matityahu wonders. When there is no documentation, it is more difficult to collect payment from the patient’s insurance company. The medical device companies, too, would very much like complete documentation of each of their components used in order to manage the logistics chain on their side.
The medical staff can be asked to carefully document each product, but even if they are asked to do so by scanning a barcode, it is not a simple matter. Not all product barcodes are read on all devices, and even a barcode scan takes time.
One of IDENTI’s products which combines RFID with image processing capabilities, allows you to ‘wave’ the product under the device, and get fast automatic documentation. “Suddenly we see the level of documentation reach 100%.”
IDENTI’s system is integrated on top of the hospital’s existing systems. “We see it as part of our strength,” says Matityahu.
IDENTI is already in the revenue phase, but not from the product described above, which is only in its launch phase, but from its previous product—smart medicine cabinets, which document the OR inventory when it is taken out of the cabinet. Our new product is expected to hit the market soon in a joint agreement with Clalit Health Services.
Meanwhile, existing products, which have more direct competition from other companies, provide the Company with a modest revenue stream and positive cash flow, even if meager.
Identifying a “RAIN RFID tag” that is in physical proximity
IDENTI was established in 2017 as a spin-off of a company called LogiTag, which dealt in the field of the Internet of Things (IoT) for the medical world. According to its definition, it currently provides surgical management solutions “for managing information in operating rooms and procedures in hospitals. This is through the development of systems based on image processing, IoT and UHF RFID technologies, which help improve cross-organizational processes in hospitals, elective analysis centers and multinational companies.”
In contrast to the set of technologies in which IDENTI specializes today—image recognition, machine learning, face recognition— the company’s roots begin with RFID technologies. The basic idea of IDENTI begins with an RFID tag. These tags, sometimes called “chips” in the unprofessional language, make it possible to tag a product so that a reading device can easily identify it when there is a physical proximity between them.
The reader can be a dedicated reading device, but it is also possible to turn a cell phone into an RFID reader. There are active readers and passive readers explains Shlomo Matityahu, CEO and chairman of IDENTI, which owns 71% of the company’s shares.
“For example, on Route 6, the badge transmits to the reading devices and the signal is received even if the vehicle travels at a very high speed,” says Matityahu. “While at the entrance to the gym, you attach a passive, battery-free chip close to the reading device. There is a whole world of products that are already in widespread use today.”
Looking to the future: image recognition and cameras for OR inventory control
IDENTI has customers in Israel, the United States, Europe, and South America. Its customers are most of the large hospitals and some small ones. It also has a number of new products that are all part of the same operating room management system and are expected to be launched gradually over the next year and a half.
According to CEO Matityahu, “The future is an ongoing picture of the entire operating room. The documentation will be automated without the need for any thought investment on the part of the staff. This is a documentation of the product, exactly where it was implanted and at what moment, how long the patient was anesthetized before the operation began, how long it took to clean, and other parameters that are currently documented manually when possible.
“When will that happen? It’s an ambitious goal to achieve in less than a year and a half.”