Evaluation for effectiveness and market readiness of an ego-centric computer vision based surgical safety system

Lead Participant: Scalpel Limited


"Last week in an NHS trust, a patient underwent unintended circumcision when he was actually scheduled for cystoscopy - a procedure using a thin camera to examine inside the bladder. This incident occurred due to the mix-up of patient records before the operation.

Preventable errors in surgery are a significant concern to the NHS and hospitals globally. In the past two years, there were over 40,601 serious incidents and an undesirable number of Never Events in the NHS. Never Events are serious, largely preventable patient safety incidents that should not occur if healthcare providers have implemented existing national guidance or safety recommendations. However, Never Events continue to happen: there were 468 incidents provisionally classified as Never Events between 1 April 2017 and 31 March 2018\. Globally, over seven million patients suffer adverse events in surgery, the majority of them are preventable errors, which cause a severe dent in the economy.

In every surgical procedure, these are routine checks -- is this the right patient, did we count all the instruments? is the patient consent for this operation? is this the right implant? - that every doctor and nurse knows they should do, but fails to carry them out effectively. The current gold standard, a paper-based WHO surgical safety checklist doesn't deliver due to inconsistencies in its implementation, tick-box exercise approach and a lack of motivation in its usage. When undergoing surgery, patients don't consider they could leave the hospital with foreign objects inside them. The NHS has spent £25.3million in compensation and legal fees over the past five years in cases where patients have left surgery with foreign objects inside them.

At Scalpel limited, we are building tools to make surgery safer and more efficient. We have already developed an autonomous software that addresses preventable serious incidents in General Surgery. We developed our technology by working with frontline clinical staff and patients at Leeds Teaching Hospital Trusts and MD-TEC Birmingham.

The current project will allow us to perform further evaluation of our technology in a clinical setting and stress test our business models before we hit the market next year. This project not only addresses the issues in the standard surgical safety checklists but demonstrates the power of artificial intelligence and data analytics to support clinical staff in real-time. The outcomes of this project lay the foundation for surgical safety technologies in the journey towards a mobile-first and digital NHS."

Lead Participant

Project Cost

Grant Offer

Scalpel Limited, London £449,619 £ 314,733


Leeds Teaching Hospitals NHS Trust, United Kingdom £76,965 £ 76,965


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