Medical errors result in tens of thousands of needless deaths each year in the United States while adding billions of dollars in resulting medical expenses. Meanwhile, medical malpractice insurance premiums also add significantly to the cost of health care in the U.S.
These twin problems are what Soteria Medical Risk, with the help of Rose-Hulman Ventures, is primed to address.
A startup business founded by Rose-Hulman alumnus Michael Meneghini, Soteria Medical Risk identifies points of risk in medical practices in order to help reduce the number of adverse events. It also calculates an individual doctor’s chances of being sued for malpractice, allowing insurance companies to set their premiums accordingly and with more data than they typically have.
Currently, malpractice insurance premiums are calculated based on very broad criteria, such as a physician’s specialty and geographic location. Soteria Medical Risk, using software developed by Rose Hulman Ventures, goes a step further by taking numerous other variables into account to give a much more accurate assessment.
“What we have done with the surgical risk tool, is we’ve taken a multifaceted approach, taking into account a number of components to better quantify surgical risk,” Meneghini says. For example, Soteria’s risk calculator will factor in a doctor’s level of training, how often they see high-risk patients, and their case volume.
Because malpractice insurance is a significant factor in U.S. health care expenses, anything that can more accurately base premiums on real-world risk is likely to save the health care system substantial dollars, Meneghini says. He notes that currently, health care costs make up about 18 percent of U.S. gross national product.
“That’s unsustainable,” he says.
Soteria Medical Risk also provides a service to health care facilities by pointing out potential risk factors for medical errors. For example, Soteria will inspect an ambulatory surgery center to determine whether it is using the best strategies to avoid infections. If those strategies are absent, Soteria can advise the practice on ways to lower its risk.
“Not only will we assess the surgeon’s risk, we will also come into a facility and tell you how to minimize your risk,” Meneghini says.
To make its calculations, Soteria Medical Risk utilizes vast amounts of data collected by Meneghini during many years of extensive research in which he has published more than 80 scientific papers on hip and knee replacement. He is one of the nation’s leading experts in those types of surgery and was voted one of the top 22 knee surgeons in the U.S. by Orthopedics This Week.
As a loyal Rose-Hulman alumnus, Meneghini says he is happy to work with Rose-Hulman Ventures, receiving a great service while also contributing to students’ hands-on experience. He plans to use RHV for at least two more phases of Soteria’s development, including a tool to store and analyze data and the creation of a mobile app.
“I was thrilled with their work,” he says. “We’ll continue to use Rose-Hulman Ventures for our technical projects as long as we can.”