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AI ultrasound technology gets investment from the Gates Foundation

American multinational medical technology company, GE Healthcare, has received a significant financial boost with a grant of over $44 million from the esteemed Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation. This grant aims to pave the way for the development of AI-assisted ultrasound technology.

The primary focus of this technology will be on addressing pivotal issues related to maternal and fetal health and respiratory diseases.

Adding an AI component to ultrasound can be a game-changer for medical professionals and even those without specialized training. It promises to provide more comprehensive information, thereby ensuring more effective ultrasound scans.

GE Healthcare has emphasized that the ultimate goal is to augment the access to top-notch care, especially in regions that are economically challenged, including middle and low-income countries.

Collaborative technological endeavor

Caption Health, an AI company recently incorporated under the GE Healthcare umbrella, has been entrusted with the task of developing this advanced technology. The company is aiming for broad applicability, designing the technology to be compatible across an array of ultrasound devices and probes. Notably, this includes the more economical handheld devices, making the technology more accessible.

It’s worth noting that Caption Health is no stranger to such ambitious projects or the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation’s support. Back in 2020, the foundation awarded them a $4.95 million grant, which was instrumental in Caption Health’s endeavors to develop an AI algorithm tailored for lung ultrasound scans. This innovation was primarily geared toward enhancing the screening processes for potentially fatal respiratory diseases.

Voices from the leadership

Roland Rott, the President and CEO of GE Healthcare, expressed his enthusiasm, stating, “We are proud and excited to have received this grant from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation to make ultrasound more accessible in low-and-middle income countries.”

Rott highlighted a pressing challenge, “However, a key limitation is the guidance of lesser-skilled users to effectively apply affordable point-of-care ultrasound in their care environment.” He believes that the grant will bridge this gap by customizing Caption Health’s pioneering AI technology for a broader user base, ensuring increased access to superior medical care.

Karley Yoder, the General Manager and Chief Digital Officer at GE Healthcare, also shed light on Caption Health’s prowess. “Caption Health AI applications are meticulously crafted to guide healthcare professionals step-by-step during an ultrasound exam. This ensures they can capture and interpret high-quality ultrasound images.”

Ending on a note of gratitude, Yoder remarked, “We are thankful for the continued support of the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation. Their support not only bolsters our existing lung ultrasound project but also magnifies the potential of this groundbreaking technology, especially in offering care to mothers and children.”

As GE Healthcare embarks on this new venture, the medical world watches with bated breath, anticipating transformative changes in the realm of ultrasound technology.

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