- Founders: David Krijgh, Martin Krijgh, Sahand Hosseininejad
- Founded in: Amsterdam, 2020
- Employees: 6
- Money raised: 400,000 euros
- Ultimate goal: Become a supportive app for all healthcare workers and their patients
The lack of a convenient program where he could put all his notes and patient information – which he could also share with his patients – was what motivated plastic surgeon David Krijgh to found SurgAccord. He and his team now face the major challenge of introducing SurgAccord into Dutch hospitals. His medical-philanthropic nature already persuaded colleagues abroad to start using SurgAccord and has also enthused his fellow colleagues in the Netherlands. In this instalment of start-up of the day, Krijgh outlines the advantages of working with SurgAccord.
Why did you set up SurgAccord?
“I am a reconstructive plastic surgeon. I was missing an IT program in this work field that guides a patient from A to Z, but where I can also collect data myself to keep track of their progress. And what I will be able to use for research later on. That’s how SurgAccord came into being. You pronounce it as you would in English. It’s a combination of surgery and accord.”
“Patients can digitally sign their consent –informed consent– for surgery through SurgAccord. The platform is set up in such a way that you can create a file for each medical examination, each operation and for each patient. You can invite not only the patient but also other treating physicians to this file. We kill a number of birds with one stone this way. It is more efficient (in terms of time), saves money, is more comprehensible, safer and we collect a lot of data that can be used in research aimed at improving medicine.”
What added value does SurgAccord provide? Is it comparable to Zorgdomein?
“It is different. SurgAccord is much more extensive. We are mainly focused on the outcomes and results of our care. In healthcare, we are moving more and more toward outcome-based healthcare. That means that we are able to see and measure what our outcomes are. These outcomes are important in order to continue improving medicine. The patient should also benefit from outcome-based healthcare. We can provide that with SurgAccord.”
“The patient also has access to the file created especially for their surgery or treatment. That cuts down on a lot of noise. At the moment, a patient often has several medical consultations, receives a number of leaflets and cards from doctors prior to their treatment. Several studies indicate that doctors very often forget to provide them with relevant information. Just as it has been found that patients forget up to 70 percent of the information that they are given. This can be largely overcome with the help of SurgAccord.”
“Everything is contained in one file: what has been discussed, how an operation is conducted, who the treating physicians are, what the results are, and any photographs. For people who have a poorer understanding of the language, explanatory videos can also be uploaded. Thanks to our platform, the patient is even better informed. Another important option is that the patient is able to sign documents by means of two-step authentication, for example, if they undergo a medical examination. In other countries, it is very common that this is also required for every medical procedure.”
“Treating physicians also have a lot to gain from using SurgAccord. In two weeks’ time, we will be rolling out a new functionality in SurgAccord. This is aimed primarily at medical interns, residents and fellows, but ultimately at anyone who wants to use it. Many interns still carry around notebooks in which they make notes for their exams or research. That will soon also be possible in SurgAccord. They can keep a personal diary this way.”
“I just spent a year working in America. In retrospect, I would have been pleased if I could have photographed steps of particular operations, along with some notes. Information gathered from this is invaluable. Which is why students and PhD students can use SurgAccord’s database for free to do their research. By keeping all the information in one file, it also makes it easier for a substitute surgeon to operate. They can read up on the exact procedure and are thus better able to answer any questions the patient may have. I once had a patient that I took over from a colleague who asked me: ‘What are you actually going to do, doctor?”
It does sound like a winning platform. Why is it not already being used all over the place?
“”In the Netherlands, my employer UMC Utrecht is now on schedule to become the first major user. Something like this simply costs a lot of time and effort to introduce into hospitals. This is not down to any reluctance or a lack of enthusiasm on their part. There are just a lot of channels to go through and people who all have to form an opinion about it. Once that has been done, they have to spend more time thinking about it and the answer is: ‘Let’s schedule a meeting in six months’ time’. You notice that it is often genuinely difficult for hospitals to innovate or add something new to their system. It is a slow process.”
“At smaller clinics, this is much easier. Decisions are made much more quickly there. So, perhaps clinics are the pioneers of innovation. This is why SurgAccord is already being used in several clinics in other countries. We have clients in Australia, Lebanon, America and in Switzerland.”
“Because I have worked in several hospitals – including those in other countries – I have managed to build up a huge network. I approached a number of relevant people in my network and asked them if they wanted to try out SurgAccord. A lot of positive reactions came out of that. It is nice to see that there is support from my colleagues and the professional field. That there are doctors out there who cherish SurgAccord and who are advocating its adoption to their employers.”
Does the costs of SurgAccord have anything to do with hospitals taking a wait-and-see approach?
“No, our costs are low. We charge a flat fee of twenty euros per user. If this user also wants access to the database, then it costs forty euros. This is regardless of how many studies the user wants to do, or how many patient portals are created. The more people or departments within a hospital that become users, the lower the average price per person becomes.”
“For us, it is not about getting rich. It is about sharing knowledge and making healthcare more efficient and optimizing it. It bothers me a lot that I have to pay extra for every scientific study I want to consult or read for the sake of my own research. This is also true for colleagues, while we are simply using the same IT program. So, the IT provider is actually selling the same product multiple times to the same customer while the additional cloud storage is not that expensive at all. That is therefore something we do not want to perpetuate.”
How do you safeguard the security of the files that are uploaded onto SurgAccord and any notes that are taken?
“Being hacked is our number one threat, of course. A data breach is everyone’s worst nightmare. Then we can immediately shut down our business. Data security is – needless to say – our highest priority. We have the files spread across several clouds and everything is encrypted. If a data breach were to occur, the hacker would still not be able to gain access to the stolen data. The patient numbers and names are separate from the medical data in the files. Such a file is consequently instantly worthless to them then. We are fully certified according to the strictest standards in Europe. We recently received a new certification. However, regardless of these certifications, we remain extremely vigilant.”
What can we expect from SurgAccord in the future?
“I really hope that the introduction of SurgAccord in the medical world will be a no brainer, because it is inexpensive and offers a lot of functionalities. It allows the patient to be involved in their own treatment from A to Z. It really should become a supportive app for everyone to improve healthcare. I hope it will quickly become more widely known and hospitals will cross over to using SurgAccord.”