RIF Robotics Pilot Aims to Improve Patient and Team Member Safety in Sterile Processing

Startup Company Receives Direct Investment and Highlights Partnership with ATDC Incubator

RIF Robotics, a health technology startup in the Advanced Technology Development Center’s ATDC Accelerate portfolio, has announced a new pilot project with Wellstar to use artificial intelligence (AI), computer vision, and robotics to automate the assembly and sterilization of surgical instruments used in hospitals. The technology aims to improve patient and hospital team member safety while enhancing operational efficiency.

More than 51 million surgeries are performed in the United States every year with each one requiring between 3 and 30 instrument trays. The sterile processing industry faces severe labor challenges, and mistakes in sterile processing can lead to unsafe outcomes for patients and medical staff with estimated costs of $25B in operating room delays, $16B in reprocessing instruments, and $3.3B in patient infections annually.

“Innovation doesn’t happen in a vacuum. That’s why we are thrilled to have Catalyst by Wellstar as a strategic partner and be an ATDC portfolio company. With Wellstar’s expertise in operating sterile processing departments and ATDC’s proven excellence in advising technology startups, we will be able to bring an innovative product to the healthcare industry that will improve patient outcomes and reduce hospital costs,” said Kevin DeMarco, CEO and Co-Founder of RIF Robotics.

RIF Founders and John Avery from ATDC.

John Avery, Director at ATDC, Kevin DeMarco, Ph.D., CEO and Co-Founder of RIF Robotics, and Sergio García-Vergara, Ph.D., Co-founder of RIF Robotics.

Catalyst by Wellstar is making a direct investment in RIF Robotics and facilitating a pilot with RIF to further refine the technology and receive direct input from healthcare workers on the frontlines of sterile processing. This hands-on trial will offer invaluable product insight; by helping such innovative technologies succeed, we will be creating better care for Wellstar patients and market value we can use to reinvest in further innovation.

By year-end 2023, RIF Robotics aims to achieve the automated assembly of a basic surgical tray before launching their product for broad commercialization.

Helping ATDC portfolio companies like RIF thrive helps Georgians in a myriad of ways which is why Catalyst is collaborating with ATDC for the next three years to accelerate a dedicated health tech pipeline of viable Georgia-based startups that will impact the health of Georgia communities.

ATDC, a program of Georgia Tech’s Enterprise Innovation Institute, is the state of Georgia’s technology startup incubator. It was founded in 1980, and its graduate startup companies have raised more than $3 billion in investment financing, generating more than $12 billion in revenue in the state of Georgia.

“ATDC is a cornerstone of the startup ecosystem in the Southeast and Catalyst by Wellstar is honored to come alongside this impactful institution to fuel innovation,” said Dr. Hank Capps, executive vice president, chief information, and digital officer of Wellstar Health System, and president of Catalyst by Wellstar. “Investing in these technologies and collaborating with ATDC allows Catalyst by Wellstar to harvest novel solutions for Wellstar’s 1.6 million patients to improve care, access to all, and reduce healthcare costs, while always delivering on the highest quality and safe experiences.”

“This collaboration continues our mission to grow and support this highly interconnected ecosystem of new technologies in the growing HealthTech sector where Georgia is a national leader,” said ATDC HealthTech Catalyst Greg Jungles. “As part of Georgia Tech, our companies also have access to a wealth of research expertise, students and other resources, including the Center for MedTech Excellence, the Global Center for Medical Innovation, and medical experts at the esteemed Wellstar Health System.”

“Wellstar is a leader in exploring ways to leverage innovation and technology to improve the way healthcare is delivered, boost access, and most importantly, improve patient outcomes,” Jungles said. “We’re excited to have such a committed partner in supporting entrepreneurs and the development of dynamic and disruptive technologies that will help shape opportunities for healthier futures for all.”

Read more about our venture fund to shape the future of healthcare and our direct investments so far.

Patric Rayburn
by Patric Rayburn