6 Questions with Phil Sayles, who has digitized the last mile in the orthopedic supply chain – the OR.

The Operation Room was the last place on earth where high-tech products are not scanned. Screws are manually counted on scrapes of paper and notes on drapes.

I have known Phil for years now and have watched him develop and launch a an elegant solution to this problem with Summate.

Phil and I sat down to discuss Summate.

1. Explain what Summate actually does.

We transform the management of the assets inside any ortho tray from analog to digital by making the existing tray itself smart.  Barcodes, which are used in most every other industry, for a variety of reasons don’t work very well on reprocessed surgical assets (like ortho trays).  We have leveraged a special tiny incredibly robust laser powered transponder chip to capture all inventory functions of ortho trays down to the part level via point of use scanning.  

Our technology enables a fully digital supply chain – we connect the “last mile”, which is always the hardest and most critical part of any network.   And we can work with any company’s sets and trays and deliver the technology – and the value – account by account.  

2. How do digital sets and trays change things for the ortho and healthcare industry?

Think about how digital scanning has impacted the retail industry, which has a lot in common with the healthcare industry – millions of products, hundreds of thousands of points of sale, and a mission critical need for timely delivery of goods.  We deliver scanning at point of use, from inside the sterile field – similar to what the POU scanning system does at the store.  This is transformational for the device industry in three distinct areas:  field inventory management efficiency, granular market usage data, and settlement of transaction at point of use.  

In layman’s terms we can provide a treasure trove of field usage data, in real time, to device companies that they have never had before.  And we can eliminate all the financial inefficiency with the “bill only” payment method.   Scanning can settle the transaction digitally at point of consumption, at the end of case.

Digital management of field assets changes everything for the device industry.  Tiger, you have said it often and well:  The device industry of the future will be as much about information as parts.  POU scanning and digital asset/ transaction management is going to be a HUGE part of that process.  

3. How does it work in the O.R.?

The OR experience revolves around the ScanMan, our small footprint scanning system that tabulates all the scanned data.  It is placed at edge of the sterile field.  The surgical technician simply laser scans the implant usage from the Scan Ready chipped sets, the circulating nurse images the packaged items that are consumed at the edge of the field, and full UDI documentation for the surgery is captured.  All at point of use.  

We are happy to work with other systems, and other software – we have a lot of IP.   Our system is cloud based and doesn’t capture any patient HIPAA data, so it is incredibly flexible.  It can roll in and go.

4. What are your barriers to entry?

Entrenched mindsets in the device and healthcare industry.  Our technology is savagely disruptive to “the old way” of doing things – both on the device and provider side.  Our first markets will be ASCs and rural hospitals.  ASCs exploit value better than hospitals and can execute change more quickly, and the rural hospitals will be good targets for strategic placement for the device companies that can’t logistically have a rep at every case.  The first device companies that roll out the digital sets and trays will have first mover advantage. Digital management for ortho trays is not “if”.  It’s “when”.

5. Where is Summate now?

COVID was tough.  We have executed 2 successful pilots at major provider sites with two more on the immediate horizon.    

The scanning has proven to be 100% accurate, so we are actively seeking more capital to scale and execute.  The opportunity is massive and ready for an innovator to fill it. 

6. What else should OrthoStreams readers know?

The winning companies in the digital age all must have 3 things: 

The best information:  Think Google
The best supply chain efficiency:  Think Amazon
Easy to use products:  Think Apple

The Summate solution and part-level digital management of orthopedic field assets dramatically improves all three of these critical areas for the device industry. It’s a home run and a win-win for both device companies and healthcare providers.  

Thanks for your time, Tiger!!!

To contact Phil for more information about Summate:
Phil Sayles