Mirador Biomedical Study: Spend $35 on Our Device & Save $116

Xconomy Seattle — 

Seattle-based Mirador Biomedical is trying to sell hospitals a little digital device for about $35 apiece, in hopes of preventing a rare and disastrous thing from happening to patients. Now the company has gathered some data that it hopes will prove it’s worth the money.

Mirador’s device is a digital pressure sensor that’s supposed to help medical professionals tell whether they are about to insert a thick central line catheter into an artery instead of a vein (a classic hospital screw-up that can lead to an emergency hemorrhage, stroke, or death). Researchers working with Mirador wanted to know if the device could help prevent these errors from happening, and see whether the tool can save the healthcare system more money than it costs.

Researchers at four different academic centers, including the University of Washington and Yale University, saw encouraging results. Staff sought to insert catheters into central veins of 298 patients, using catheters equipped with Mirador’s pressure sensor, and ultrasound imaging to help guide the needle to the right spot in almost every case. Using ultrasound guidance, the staff still messed up five times out of those 298 cases (a 1.7 percent error rate) in which the syringe hit an artery instead of a vein. The Mirador device caught all five of those instances, and saved the patients from an emergency, because staff knew to stop before inserting the full catheter and guidewire, according to results published this week in the peer-reviewed journal Anesthesia and Analgesia.

“The device was easily used by trainees, and users expressed a positive level of satisfaction,” researchers said in the journal.

A cost-benefit analysis of the new findings shows that catching those errors and eliminating dangerous bleeding episodes should save hospitals $116 on average for each central line insertion performed, even after paying $35 for the disposable Mirador tool. Researchers arrived at the $116 per patient figure by adding up the tens of thousands of dollars spent on treating the complications of improperly inserted catheters, and by factoring in the hospital’s cost of defending from malpractice lawsuits.

Karl Schmidt

“It’s important for Mirador because our device is new. People always ask whether it’s effective. This demonstrates it is,” says co-founder and CEO Karl Schmidt.

Mirador is hoping this latest bit of evidence will provide a lift for its business. Schmidt, Justin Hulvershorn, and Doug Swartz co-founded the company in 2009, and have raised a little more than $2.5 million in a pair of financings. Its backers include WRF Capital, Summit Capital. The company won FDA clearance to start selling the first couple iterations of its Compass Vascular Access product in October 2010.

Since then, the business has been what you could call steady-but-not-spectacular. The company has seen revenue grow in 11 consecutive quarters, Schmidt says, but he wouldn’t provide absolute sales numbers. Mirador has developed line extensions of its product for six different clinical settings, and cast a broadening net by selling its device to “hundreds” of hospitals in the U.S., European Union, Middle East, and South Korea, Schmidt says. The company has seven employees. It’s not yet profitable, but “we’re getting there,” Schmidt says. He didn’t provide a timetable for when Mirador expects to reach that milestone.

No other company has a pressure sensor quite like Mirador’s, but ultrasound companies have flooded hospitals with marketing messages … Next Page »

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