How Innovation and Partnership Redefined Total Joint Surgery
July 7, 2023
When Exactech first introduced GPS in the operating room 13 years ago today, it marked a major milestone in the company’s history that opened the door for surgeons to have direct access to real-time data in the sterile field. Over the years, Exactech has pushed innovation with disruptive technologies in its Active Intelligence® suite, which focuses on user needs and research-driven results. Today, surgeons and patients around the globe in more than 20 countries benefit from the company’s platform of technologies.
There are many notable moments throughout the history of GPS, and below are the most significant milestones – that have defined how Exactech democratized data and transformed the way total joint replacement surgery is performed.
Michel Brax, MD, performs the first ExactechGPS surgery on a total knee patient in France in 2010.
Disrupting the Marketplace with Revolutionary Thinking
GPS was developed as a transformative technology to, for the first time, offer surgeons real-time, accurate and precise data in a compact and streamlined package that fits seamlessly within the sterile field. While previous navigation platforms offered some benefits, they were often seen as cumbersome and were always controlled by an assistant or engineer outside of the sterile field.
“We were determined we could do it better,” Anthony Boyer, President and CEO of Blue Ortho, an Exactech company that develops and manufactures GPS. “Nobody believed in navigation at the time, and this was the exact time we decided to create a navigation company. Everybody called us crazy people, but we knew with our 10 years of experience that we could solve the issues of direct control from the surgeon, better line-of-sight and improved efficiencies.”
Today, over 100 employees around the world – engineers and developers, and clinical research, regulatory and marketing personnel – partner to bring the pioneering technology to the marketplace.
Continuous Push for Technology Improvements and Data-Driven Results
One of the unique differentiators of partnering with Exactech is a sharp focus on the surgeon user and their unique needs – as well as a commitment to delivering results.
The foundation of the GPS technology was sound. And from that, we’ve been able to design our own trajectory.
“Focusing on the unmet needs of surgeons in the marketplace has been our guiding principle since the beginning,” said Laurent Angibaud, Exactech Vice President of Development, Advanced Surgical Technologies. “The foundation of the GPS technology was sound. And from that, we’ve been able to design our own trajectory.”
The company has delivered hardware and software upgrades at a fast pace, averaging more than two a year. Some of the latest integrations include advanced ligament balancing for knee replacement, humeral planning for shoulder arthroplasty and machine learning integration to help surgeons predict patient outcomes.
“GPS is like a video game where we are always inventing new levels,” said Boyer. “We are focused on innovating so that each new level is even more efficient.”
Left: Newton provides dynamic soft tissue analytics, pre-resection operative insights and full-range personalized planning for balanced TKA. Right: Equinoxe® Planning App and GPS® Shoulder. First and only shoulder navigation technology that connects the preoperative plan with real-time intraoperative instrument guidance and verifies implant placement.
Bypassing Buyer Bureaucracy to Provide Increased Access to More Surgeons
The cost of US healthcare is ever increasing. In April of 2019, Exactech made history as the first in the industry to remove the capital sales process for its GPS technology. This bold strategy eliminated the capital burden that surgeons and hospitals can face with acquiring new technology.
“This is consistent with the whole ideology of the GPS system, which is to eliminate all of the pain points of similar technologies” said CJ Wittus, Director of Marketing for Active Intelligence. “We don’t want a larger footprint. We don’t want more people in the operating room. We don’t want a burdensome capital sale expenditure process for the hospitals. We’re proving that GPS is improving clinical outcomes at no added cost and no significant time added to cases, so why would we not want all surgeons to access our technology?”
The removal of the capital sales process is just one example of how Exactech is a partner in and out of the O.R., respecting the interests of our customers for economic efficiencies and improved patient outcomes.
“By eliminating the capital purchase process, Exactech is democratizing data for orthopaedic surgeons all around the world with increased availability to powerful technologies that can help improve patient outcomes,” said Stephanie Muh, MD, of Henry Ford Health, an Exactech consultant.
GPS offers proven, surgeon-controlled navigation without the capital cost.
Making an Impact Across the Globe
Exactech’s GPS technology is uniquely designed to equip the surgeon with real-time insights into many things the human eye cannot see – and it’s making an impact across the globe in a big way.
“We are seeing the customer base opening, and different countries are adopting our technology,” said Nicolas Hohl, Exactech Vice President of International Sales. He went on to share that GPS has received a tremendous response in the global marketplace with one surgeon, who was skeptical at first, commenting ‘GPS is not leaving my OR’ after just one case.
With the majority of device companies stuck at utilization rates around 20%, we have the sharpest edge and are making tremendous strides with adoption levels at over double the industry average.
Customers in more than 20 countries have adopted the technology, with surgeons in the Middle East as the most recent to perform surgery using Exactech products with GPS at the forefront.
“It’s exciting to see Exactech continue to bring this clinically beneficial technology to markets around the world,” Dr. Muh said.
“This is just the tip of the iceberg,” Wittus said. “With the majority of device companies stuck at utilization rates around 20%, we have the sharpest edge and are making tremendous strides with adoption levels at over double the industry average. We’re putting the ‘tech’ in Exactech.”