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Gates Foundation funds Caption Health's AI-guided ultrasound system

by John R. Fischer, Senior Reporter | November 17, 2020
Artificial Intelligence Business Affairs Ultrasound
Caption AI will enable non-specialists to perform lung ultrasound assessments
The Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation is providing $4.95 million in funding for Caption Health’s development of an AI-guided lung ultrasound system.

The grant enables Caption Health to expand its AI technology to lung ultrasound for healthcare workers to have real-time guidance when scanning quality images of each lung. The funding is meant to further develop solutions that speed up accurate diagnosis of pneumonia, which is the leading cause of death for children under five, in places with limited resources and that are short of physicians skilled in the use of this technology.

"Expanding this AI to lung ultrasound and putting it in the hands of clinicians could have profound implications for the diagnosis and treatment of pneumonia, a leading cause of death in our youngest global citizens, as well as for COVID-19 and other lung conditions,” said emergency medicine physician Dr. Chris Moore, associate professor of emergency medicine, chief of the section of emergency ultrasound, and director of the Emergency Ultrasound Fellowship at Yale.

Caption Health’s AI platform is already FDA cleared and enables medical professionals without prior ultrasound experience to perform cardiac ultrasound exams, which, like lung ultrasound, requires a high level of clinical skill and specific expertise. Expanding the technology to lung ultrasound will enable automated interpretation for detecting key lung pathologies.

It also will help by enabling medical professionals without prior experience in lung ultrasound triage and monitor patients affected by the COVID-19 pandemic. Lung ultrasound has grown in demand during the pandemic, as it is more sensitive than chest X-rays and can detect pulmonary issues associated with the disease early.

"Abnormalities or disease states in the lungs can directly cause prominent abnormalities of cardiac function, just as disease states in the heart can lead to marked abnormalities in the lungs,” said Moore. “By taking our unique methodology for developing breakthrough AI for cardiac imaging and applying it to lungs, we will continue to broaden the impact we can have in helping with the management of patients with conditions affecting these two vital systems."

Caption Health previously performed a multicenter prospective clinical trial, and has numerous published abstracts that clinically validate its cardiac ultrasound technology. It intends to pursue similar means to show its technology can help non-specialists perform lung ultrasound exams.

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