Surgisphere’s COVID-19 Tools are Deadly Fraud

Surgisphere’s website hosts an application or applications, pretending to assist physicians and patients with COVID-19 diagnostics and decision making. These applications are called Rapid Triage, Severity Scoring, Diagnosis, Mortality Risk. In fact, these are simple Javascript exercises without any health care value. But they accept input and give output, and a user might be deceived to believe that they provide functionality, described in the Surgisphere’s press releases and other promotional materials.

There is no “advanced machine learning” or “global research network” behind them. Even as calculators, they are far off mark. For example, Surgisphere Mortality Risk Calculator shows that a 20 years old smoker, infected with the coronavirus, has 2.2% probability of death. In reality, the probability of death from COVID-19 for this age is less than 0.01%.

Claims are made that Surgisphere’s Diagnosis Decision Support Tool(s) have been validated and are in use in >1,000 hospitals worldwide! Worse, these “tools” are advertised and offered not only to doctors, but to patients and the general public.

In February-March 2020, Surgisphere’s founder, part time employee, and CEO Sapan Desai quit his full time job in Northwest Community Healthcare. Following are quotes from Surgisphere’s press releases from March 2020.

03-12: Rapid Diagnostic Test for Coronavirus COVID-19 Now Available from Surgisphere

Surgisphere Corporation announces the availability of a rapid diagnostic tool for novel coronavirus. Leveraging the power of its global research network and advanced machine learning, Surgisphere has developed an intelligent tool that uses as few as three common laboratory tests to identify patients likely to have coronavirus infection. With a sensitivity of 93.7% and specificity of 99.9%, this highly accurate test can help limit transmission of this deadly virus …

Surgisphere used its cloud-based healthcare data analytics platform (QuartzClinical) to identify patients diagnosed with COVID-19 in five countries. A machine learning model using decision tree analysis was created with clinical and lab data on infected patients to develop this decision support tool. This resource is now available at https://www[.]SurgicalOutcomes[.]com/. These advances have been submitted to a leading medical journal for rapid peer review and publication.

Highlight (Side Panel):

Meet the first effective weapon in the battle against #coronavirus. Early diagnosis @Surgisphere means faster care and lives saved. Learn more at https://SurgicalOutcomes%5B.%5Dcom. #machinelearning #bigdata

03-16: Surgisphere’s COVID-19 Response Center Now Online For Physicians and Patients

 With feedback from the WHO, Surgisphere has developed a validated rapid diagnosis decision support tool and mortality risk calculator to aid in the battle against COVID-19.

Since becoming operational last week, Surgisphere’s diagnosis decision support tool has already been used by over 45,000 people in 59 countries. With an overall accuracy of 99.99%, this tool helps to identify patients likely to be infected with COVID-19 without the usual 1-2 day waiting period.

The COVID-19 diagnosis decision support tool and mortality risk calculator are available at https://www%5B.%5DSurgisphere%5B.%5Dcom. Users can access the tool via their computer or smartphone.

03-19: Surgisphere Releases ‘Rapid COVID-19 Triage Tool’ Internationally

… healthcare professionals on the front line can triage a COVID-19 patient in under a minute.

This triage tool has been prospectively validated and has a 95.5% overall accuracy. 100% of patients who require immediate attention are correctly triaged. This smartphone app can be accessed at https://www%5B.%5DSurgisphere%5B.%5Dcom. 

Highlight (Side Panel):

#COVID19 surge will overwhelm hospitals. @Surgisphere triages patients in < 1 min w/ smartphone app to save lives worldwide. #machinelearning @CNNI @EricTopol MDs use it now at https://www%5B.%5Dsurgisphere%5B.%5Dcom. Prospectively validated and submitted for peer review.

03-26: Surgisphere’s COVID-19 Machine Learning Platform Receives International Endorsement – Now Clinically in Use at >1,000 Hospitals Worldwide

In use by front line nurses and doctors in more than 100 countries, Surgisphere’s clinical decision support tools are helping to guide medical care for tens of thousands of COVID-19 patients. 

… four decision support tools – all of which are prospectively validated and in clinical use throughout the world. Surgisphere’s Diagnosis Decision Support Tool is a highly effective screening tool that helps identify whether a patient has COVID-19. The Rapid Triage and Severity Scoring tools help determine the severity of infection. A Mortality Risk Calculator offers a quick prediction of survival in infected patients. These tools are freely available at https://www%5B.%5DSurgisphere%5B.%5Dcom and also in the form of a smartphone application.

 Surgisphere’s fraud has been quite convincing, so far. The Oxford Centre for Evidence-Based Medicine (CEBM) listed three Surgisphere “tools” – Surgisphere Mortality Risk Calculator, Severity Scoring Tool, Triage Decision Support Tool – in the article What prognostic clinical risk prediction scores for COVID-19 are currently available for use in the community setting? (April 22, CEBM.net)

An article Prediction models for diagnosis and prognosis of covid-19 infection: systematic review and critical appraisal , published in the high impact British Medical Journal (The BMJ) on April 7, mentioned Surgisphere tools as “web risk calculators launched for use while the scientific manuscript is still under review (and unavailable on request)”, but did not include in the review.

There is a promotional editorial about Surgisphere’s tools COVID-19 Severity Scoring Tool for low resourced settings in the peer reviewed African Journal of Emergency Medicine.

Surgisphere charges for joining the Collaborative, starting with $295/year.

unfinished

via Science Defies Politics

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May 26, 2020 at 09:36PM

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