Johnson & Johnson buys surgical software specialist

CEO at shareholders meeting
J&J CEO Alex Gorsky

Johnson & Johnson has bought Surgical Process Institute (SPI). The takeover gives J&J control of SPI’s Surgical Procedure Manager (SPM), software designed to standardize operations by providing teams with a checklist of best practices.

J&J is paying an undisclosed sum to acquire the German company. SPI’s business is built around a few pillars. One SPI unit develops processes to standardize aspects of surgery such as cooperation between doctors and nurses. Another trains teams in this way of working. But from J&J’s position, the lure of SPI lies in its SPM software.

The software builds on SPI’s work to standardize surgical procedures by giving teams a checklist of what needs to be done. When used properly, SPI thinks the software increases the chances of teams adhering to highest surgical standards and performing the right tasks in the right order every time. 

J&J has bought into the idea and is now gearing up to make SPI’s products available through its sales channels in Europe next year. In parallel, J&J plans to perform pilot testing in other regions with a goal of making the products available globally in 2019. 

“SPI's unique offerings have been shown to reduce surgery variability and the time spent in the operating room,” Sandi Peterson, group worldwide chair for J&J, said in a statement. “These new digital tools will allow us to deliver a more comprehensive and effective solution for our customers and help them continue to improve patient care.”

The perceived need for the processes and their enabling software stems from the collaborative, multidisciplinary nature of surgical procedures. While it is feasible for a doctor to follow the same surgical steps each time—and, in doing so, reliably deliver positive outcomes—the likelihood of total consistency declines when all the people and interactions involved in the the broader process are factored in.  

Getting the complex interplay between all members of the team exactly right each time requires discipline. SPI, and now J&J, think SPM can help surgical teams to consistently deliver these high levels of performance.