Source: France Soir
Surgisphere is the company responsible for collecting data from Professor Mehra’s study, which has received worldwide attention for the past 7 days. After our first interview with Mr Mehra who had left us skeptical about the form and content, we became interested in this business. And there some questions arise and surprises.
The surgisphere company has:
Several addresses that are more like accommodation may be related to relocations or business domiciliation.
Several companies with the same name were successively registered in various states, then liquidated or suspended.
Few employees with a very recent entry date and few mentions on google of these various people and a questionable profile.
Little activity until March 2020 on the website .
Its founder Sapan Desai MD announces in a video that Gildes Remdesivir reduces the length of stay in the hospital , and says that it needs more “good quality data”
For a study the size of that of the Lancet (96,000 participants), this company, which claims to be specialized in big data and artificial intelligence, to date does not really provide factual elements of its reality or its ability to to do. On the contrary, rather surprising indices appear when looking for information on the company (a lot of declarative and little or no official data like tax declaration …). Questions are sure to be asked by more qualified than us.
About the company
The Surgisphere company was created on March 1, 2007 (Crunchbase) by Doctor Sapan Desai who is one of the co-authors of Mr. Mehra’s study in The Lancet. This company would be specialized in big data and the use of artificial intelligence in data analysis. Another company in the name of Sapan Desai, Surgisphere Corporation was created on June 28, 2012 and then dissolved in January 2016 ( https://opencorporates.com/companies/us_tx/0801618466 ). Another with the same name ( https://opencorporates.com/companies/us_nc/1037229 ) created on April 8, 2008 and suspended on October 22, 2015.
To continue, companies with the same name have been created and written off several times in various states for non-production of accounts. One more clue:
Who is Doctor Sapan Desai?
Dr. Desai appears to be the founder of Surgisphere, which was formed in 2007. A PubMed search for “Sapan Desai” shows 39 medical publications in the past five years. With the exception of the two very recent COVID-19 articles, the Surgisphere database does not appear to have been used in any of the 37 other publications. Why would the founder of Surgisphere have access to one of the largest repositories of real-time patient data, but not have used it before its publication on COVID-19?
In the USA, doctors are often listed on websites only accessible via a VPN. We found only one very negative comment on this gentleman, who is described more as a businessman than a doctor, not taking the time. However we find some comments on Linkedin.
The only other mentions of him that we could find are these recent videos where he speaks on an AI Med chain of doctor A Chang on May 11, 2020 and one of April 14, 2020. One of the videos made 191 views and the another 953 views to date, which is very low for a video on artificial intelligence and the Covid 19. A point to note in the video is that Mr Desai declares to have collected shared medical records (EHR) with more 1,200 partners worldwide. He also indicates that his company exploits 1 petabyte of data, which is colossal for a small structure like his. The EHR (electronic health record) is constantly updated. A fundamental question is how can a company of this size play in this court? It will necessarily have to support a major IT company.
We made a maintenance request through the company’s website. Following this we received an email from another company which would be the communication agency http://www.blissintegrated.com/
Since that day, Sapan Desai has given a quick interview in Sciences et Avenir .
Who are the employees of the company
On Linkedin, the company reports 5 people working there, 4 of whom arrived either in March 2020 or in April 2020. We did google searches on each of them without much success (very few mention or publications) and the profile of Stacy Prigmore caught our attention more particularly because we cannot find any information on him.
The internet footprint of this company dates back to the registration of its website in March 23, 2007. However, this site would only be really active since March 2020
Articles published on the Surgisphere website date back to March 2020
The company’s website gives the impression of only existing or having activity since March 2020 and nothing between 2013 and 2020. A dormant activity
On google trends
Very little research on the company name “surgisphere” before this week. (thanks @fluorro)
The twitter activity started in 2013 and was almost nil until March 12, 2020.
For a company specializing in big data and AI with 4 employees, we found four different addresses, which is strange for a company of such a small size, but which could be explained by various stages of its life.
The first is an office in Chicago at Regus at 875 Ave 31st Floor Chicago IL 60611
The second is a residential pavilion at 759 W Meryls Ct Palatine, IL 60074 in the suburbs of Chicago. Rather opulent as a pavilion.
The third a smaller house at 4706 CARMEN LN DURHAM NC Zip: 27707-5299 in the suburbs of Durham North Carolina
The fourth is an address in washington 3 Hermann Museum Circle D Houston, TX 77004 which is also a residential address of the aparthotel type.
The turnover of this company is apparently 8 million dollars whose update is in March 2020 (Source: ZoomInfo). We also looked for this company’s tax returns without success.
So an important question is who are the other customers of this company.
How can a company with a turnover of this size take responsibility for a study the size of that published in the Lancet?
Surgisphere would have three websites:
https://surgisphere.com/ (not secure even with a valid certificate)
https://surgicaloutcomes.com/ (source: source http: / /www.whois-raynette.fr/ )
For surgisphere, a peculiarity observed is that the date for updating the domain names belonging to it is May 14, close to the date of publication of the article in The Lancet.
INTERNET HISTORY SEARCH
By using wayback machine, a service which makes it possible to trace the history of websites, we can see that the history of the website is not there or that it has been excluded. Information highlighted on Twitter by the American doctor James Todaro (Medical Degree Columbia University)
James Todaro did the same analysis.
Another full article on the freerangestats blog concludes that the data was probably fabricated. Extraordinary claims about its data/implausible-health-data-firm