Inovus Medical – Surgical Intelligence

Inovus Medical’s new digital surgery platform will allow it to expand its training capabilities even further than before.

It has been two years since we last talked to Inovus Medical, a company that specialises in designing and manufacturing healthcare simulators, with a specific sub-focus on surgical simulation. The time since then has been more than eventful, with the continuing trials of the pandemic, supply chain challenges and an increasingly complex geopolitical situation, but Inovus itself has achieved some major milestones.

When we last talked to Inovus Medical the firm had just raised a round of seed capital. This year the company has closed a $7 million growth capital round, as Inovus continues its move to becoming a digital-first company.

“We have launched our first digital product, a digital surgery platform that adds value to and connects our growing ecosystem of simulator hardware,” says Dr Elliot Street.

“We launched that platform in 2020 and got it out to market ahead of schedule to support surgeons under the pressures of Covid. As well as powering our surgical simulators, this digital surgery platform allowed surgeons across the UK and the globe to maintain connectivity with one another, while refreshing or even enhancing their surgical skills at a time when they could do very little operating.”

As well as achieving more funding, Inovus has also expanded considerably. The firm has just hired a new direct commercial team in the USA, giving Inovus access to the central, east, and west parts of the States with boots on the ground.

“We have listened to the market and put the infrastructure on the ground in the USA. In the US we are seeing more and more adoption. We have also very much cemented ourselves as the market leader in the UK,” Street tells us. “We are offering the single most cutting-edge technology for surgical training.”

A Training Continuum

The biggest challenge Inovus has set out to solve is that surgery is far more than just one skill that can be comprehensively learned.

“There is not a single drill or set of tasks you can do to learn surgery. There is this continuum of surgical skills governed by questions such as ‘what is it I want to learn?’, ‘Do I need to learn the basics?’, ‘Am I moving to an advanced level?’” Street explains. “All of these different elements of learning keyhole or microscopic surgery can be broken down. You do not need a one size fits all solution, but you do need all those solutions to meet the needs of that continuum.”

Street understood the problem Inovus needed to solve, but more than that, he wanted to get surgeons to the point where they can train for surgery the way an elite athlete will train for sport.

“That means offering a training experience that is as close as possible to what they will experience on game day,” Street says.

“We realised four barriers were stopping that from happening in surgery.”

These barriers were the cost of the training equipment, that it was difficult to access and impossible to scale. Even then, the simulators, often relying on virtual reality technology, were simply not realistic or functional enough to replace the hours of real experience on patients that surgeons usually need to learn.

“We started at the bottom of the continuum with low-fidelity basic simulators. Then in 2020 we launched our digital surgery platform and crossed over into high fidelity simulators,” Street says. “The watershed moment was that this platform did not follow the status quo. There was no virtual reality, instead, we used augmented reality to create a platform that is more affordable because of the way we built it. It is more scalable and accessible, the use of AR allows us to create natural haptics, soft tissue phantoms, and real instruments. Our digital surgery platform means we have a user-friendly system and platform for surgeons to connect to in their day-to-day lives.”

Street informs us that surgeons have described it as the best advance they have seen in 30 or 40 years. It is cheaper and more effective than existing systems, but it is far more than that.

“What we have done is taken on the classic IBM model of large expensive mainframe systems, and produced a product more like the Mac Book Pro, which is accessible to far more people,” explains Street. “But unlike the mac book pro, it is more powerful than the IBM equivalent.”

But Street is the first to point out that this is all just marketing unless people are actually using the system. Fortunately, since the platform was launched it has been adopted by nine regional training programs, including the whole of the West Midlands region, meaning that 5.9 million patients will have surgeons honing their skills on the platform. More than that, it means Inovus now has a wealth of new data to learn from.

“With this platform, we are capturing huge volumes of objective data. We can ask if it is improving skills and efficiencies. We have added a clinical excellence pillar to the business, a team led by surgeons who are researching and providing an evidence base for the digital surgery platform with our augmented reality approach,” Street points out.

“We have seen that it results in a 40% reduction in time to operate, a 60% increase in surgical efficiency, which impacts on costs to deliver in a cash-strapped NHS, alongside improved surgical performance that reduces the risk to patients.”

This data will help Inovus Medical realise its long-term mission, to become the world partner for surgical training, and while the company has achieved so much since we last spoke to them, Street’s mind is purely on Inovus’s next steps.

“Where do we go from here? Right now, we have products serving keyhole surgery, gynaecological surgery, and general surgery, but it does not address all the skills for surgery, gynaecology, urology, neurosurgery and beyond,” Street says. “Moving forward we want to take our proven evidence-backed digital platform and apply it to a horizontal continuum of surgical specialities. We will deliver the same level of training across all those specialities. Only then will we be able to say we have achieved our mission when everyone on the planet is using our technology.”

To get to that point, Inovus is not only building its footprint in the States and around the world but has also doubled its development team, continuing to create new technologies and apply them to the surgical training continuum. But all these new technologies will be supported by Inovus’s new digital platform, which is now coming into its own as a product.

“This platform has been in use for two years, but now it is its own standalone product that will power this growing ecosystem of connected training tools,” Street announces.


Dr Elliot Street CEO (left),

Jordan Van Flute CTO (right),

founders of Inovus Medical.






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