Surprisingly, 20% of patients aged over 60 suffer from postoperative delirium (POD) after surgery: disorientation, memory loss, difficulty in speech, and behavioural changes are among the symptoms experienced by patients affected by POD. These cognitive disorders result in a longer post-surgical recovery time, with increased hospital stays and associated costs. A staggering 38% of these patients continue with long-term cognitive decline, often resulting in nursing home admission and dementia. From a cost perspective, delirium has a 60% higher cost to healthcare in the U.S. than diabetes making it one of the most costly diseases to payers, providers, and society-at-large. A Budget Impact Analysis, conducted by a renowned health economist, found that PIPRA’s solution could save a mid-sized public hospital CHF 3.2mio per year.
Founded in 2019, PIPRA AG (Pre-Interventional Preventive Risk Assessment), developed an AI-based pre-operative test to assess a patient's risk of suffering from postoperative delirium after surgery. Doctors can immediately use a browser-based, platform-independent software without having to integrate it into the hospital IT system. Routinely collected patient history is entered by the doctor prior to an operation, taking only 1 minute, and delivering an immediate risk score. The technology leverages the startup’s carefully curated and harmonized patient database to calculate an individual and reliable risk score of presenting POD. Subsequently, it delivers real-time results. Today, doctors make a subjective assessment of a patient's risk which can lead to errors and misinformation for the patients.
Multiple hospitals rely on PIPRA
The PIPRA tool is CE-certified. The platform was launched in September 2021 – 18 months following the company’s inauguration. Among the first paying clients are institutions such as the Hirslanden Hospital, Cantonal Hospital Baden and University Hospital Basel. More customers will follow as the platform advances.
For upcoming developments, PIPRA has obtained fresh capital as part of its seed round. Led by StartAngels Network, the startup also attracted Dutch-based Forward VC, Zurich Kantonalbank, and Plug and Play. In addition to the CHF 2.1 million seed round, the startup benefits from non-equity-based grants totalling over CHF 750’000 from Innosuisse, mainly used to launch a multi-centre project with University Hospital Geneva, University Hospital Basel and Le Centre Hospitalier Universitaire Vaudois (CHUV). Besides the financing round and the Innosuisse grant, PIPRA also won the EIT Health Wildcard award of €1.3 million. Further award prizes have followed since then.
“PIPRA proposes a new tool that allows rapid determination of an individual patient's risk to develop postoperative delirium after an operation. This is a very exciting and important development which can improve current clinical practice. We will finally be able to not only target resource-intensive non-pharmacological preventive interventions to those patients who benefit the most, but we will also be able to design clinical trials regarding delirium based on risk groups.” says Prof. Dr. med. Luzius Steiner, Head of Anesthesiology at Basel University Hospital.
PIPRA has a team of five employees and is currently hiring.