The people who create innovative solutions that enhance the ability of surgeons to heal.
Our CEO, Dr. Louis Cornacchia had the vision to change the surgical field for the better. After a long and difficult case on a footstool, with foot pedals needing to be readjusted continuously - he knew there had to be a better way. Fatigued and frustrated he set out to create a BiPolar Electrocautery Hand Switch, the product that would begin a family of people who believe in his vision to create innovative solutions that enhance the ability of surgeons to heal.
5 years ago the BiPAD = Bipolar Activated Device was created.
The people who make this company support, “Our Goal of Zero”. Zero surgeons feeling frustrated and fatigued by a lack of technological advance. The surgical community bettered by the quality improvement initiative BiPAD presents. Throughout this blog, we hope to introduce you to some of the great people that make BiPAD and their experiences. We hope that you will join our community, share what you envision in a better surgical community with BiPAD. We are here to help and to be your partner in a better surgical future for all surgeons, nurses, support staff, and patients.
Part 1: Interview with Dr. Louis Cornacchia, CEO, BiPAD® Surgical
1. What specialty do you currently practice?
I am a neurosurgeon, with a focus on spine.
2. Who or what has shaped who you are?
I went into medicine to help people and discover new ways to improve our ability to treat illness. I have been interested in neurosurgery since my early teens. Philosophy Professor, Jaque Pedawer whom I had the pleasure of working with at Albert Einstein College of Medicine was an inspiration to me. He was a brilliant man who recommended a medical degree prior to pursuing medical research and I’m glad I followed this advice.
I also would say my Father, to whom I attribute my engineering skills.
3. What key lessons have you learned in creating BiPAD that would help others?
The process is necessarily complex and multifaceted. The foundation is having a clinical solution but this is not alone sufficient, and needs to have a business case as well as regulatory approval. Though it appears simple, the BiPAD required every type of medical device testing required other than software testing since it does not have a CPU.
4. What is one surprising fact about electrosurgery that you find is overlooked?
The dangers of monopolar electrocautery are more profound than I realized before starting this project. The complications that can occur due to the use of monopolar include requiring replacement or damage to implants causing cardiac injury. Even placement of a grounding electrode should be carefully supervised by the surgeon given the risk of 1st, 2nd and even 3rd degree burns. Surgeons need to be clear that the grounding pad makes full contact with clean skin surface, away from electrode.
5. When you look for someone to join the BiPAD family what qualities are you looking for in that person?
We are looking to provide products that make surgery safer and easier. Surgery itself is complex requiring multiple years of education. Having a hand switch for electrocautery is a nice edition but a small piece of all the complexities of successfully completing a surgery. We look for people who understand and appreciate something as simple as BiPAD - could be a great improvement for surgeons and the surgical team. We mostly hire salespeople who specifically have experience in the OR. They are usually aware of the issues associated with foot pedals and the need to move the floor pedal in surgeries themselves. Our salespeople understand this from a surgeon’s perspective. There is a certain delight in activating the bipolar generator by hand without having the added step of finding the foot pedal. Having used the BiPAD hand switch in surgeries over the past four months, I have concluded this is how bipolar forceps activation should have always been.
6. Why are you passionate about what we do?
I am passionate due to the feedback we receive from other surgeons that have told me it makes their job a little easier and BiPAD makes a difference. If we can do anything to make surgery a little easier for them, then we accomplished a lot.
7. What do you envision the future of BiPAD to be?
There are a lot of ways we can improve surgical instruments and technologies and improve surgical outcomes. Things as simple as the design of a pedicle screw head from the torx type engagement to one that would reduce the likelihood of the instrument slipping when the surgeon attempts to engage the pedicle screw head with a screwdriver. I recently learned of a case, for example, where a very good surgeon slipped while inserting several lateral screws causing damage to the patient’s spine and temporary paralysis. You can always say that the surgeon should have been more careful but it is also true that the technology design failed to help prevent the accident. This is a lot like blaming every airline accident on a pilot. That is not how we got to 1 accident in every 100,000 flying hours. A lot of this was achieved by improving the ergonomics and sophistication of the technology tool set to make it safter to implement to fly. I would say surgeons today are too often dealing with 1980’s technology compared to aeronautic ergonomics. Robotics and more sophisticated navigation systems are the exception.