To create efficiency, startup OR Link joins McGovern incubator

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Daryl Lovell

Lou Walcer, holding the key, the director of Cornell’s McGovern Center business incubator, welcomes OR Link executives Frank Niro, left, Wayne Colin and Jason Harris, to the center.

A new startup company will strive to create sunny days for surgical patients, doctors and hospitals by engaging the cloud.

OR Link – a cloud-based software company that aims to save lives, reduce surgical supply waste and make operating rooms more efficient – joined Cornell’s business incubator, the Kevin M. McGovern Family Center for Venture Development in the Life Sciences, Sept. 1.

One key to efficiency in hospitals is the surgeon’s preference card, which lists necessary supplies and operating room preferences for specific procedures and physicians. To save time, nurses and other staff prepare supplies in advance and tailor the operating room setup based on the preference cards.

“In general, preference cards can become easily outdated. This means that expensive supplies go unused and go to waste – and operating rooms must be reconfigured – a costly proposition for hospitals,” said Frank Niro, MBA ’74, OR Link’s chief executive officer, who spent his career as a chief hospital administrator and has taught at Cornell’s Samuel Curtis Johnson Graduate School of Management.

The McGovern Center will assign an executive team and volunteer mentors to work with OR Link. “I’m very excited about welcoming them, and settling into the work of adding value and investible potential to the already impressive company they’ve built,” said Lou Walcer, director of the McGovern Center.

OR Link mobile software links to hospital electronic medical records and central supply room inventory management systems. Niro said it can help doctors improve patient safety, monitor costs and create operating room efficiencies.

The app digitizes information on surgical tools, case carts, disposable supplies and patient positioning. “At its core, the software simplifies a surgeon’s preferences for everything from instruments to an operating room layout, shared in real time among operating room personnel,” said Niro, who added that physicians using smartphones and tablets can update preferences easily.

OR Link was founded in 2016 by Dr. Wayne Colin, a head and neck surgeon in Lexington, Kentucky. When he transferred his practice from one hospital to another, he could not readily transfer his existing preference cards, so he assembled a team of experienced health care and technology professionals to tackle the problem. Dr. Jason Harris, a surgeon, serves as the company’s chief medical officer.

In supply control and standardization, an average size hospital may save up to a $400,000 annually and as much as $1,000 in wasted supplies on average for each surgery. In addition, if OR Link saves several minutes of time in surgical suites, that can translate into hundreds of thousands of dollars in savings annually for each hospital.

Patient safety is a key concern for any hospital, said Colin, noting that surgeons and hospitals always strive to help patients by way of a streamlined organization. He said: “Improved outcomes are priceless.”


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Blaine Friedlander