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GE HealthCare gets $44 million to develop AI-assisted ultrasound applications

by John R. Fischer, Senior Reporter | September 20, 2023
Artificial Intelligence Ultrasound Women's Health
GE HealthCare's Vscan Access
GE HealthCare will use $44 million granted to it by the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation to develop AI-assisted ultrasound solutions to help inexperienced providers in low- and middle-income countries accurately perform scans for maternal, fetal, and pediatric lung care.

Caption Health, which was acquired earlier in the year by GE HealthCare and develops AI-assisted technologies for cardiac ultrasound, will use the funds to develop multiple lung ultrasound and obstetric algorithms.

It will also invest the grant in clinical testing and regulatory submissions for these applications, which GE HealthCare will then integrate into its different ultrasound devices and probes, including lower-cost handheld systems. The technology will be accessible to different types of care sites.

"We can help healthcare providers in low-and-middle-income countries—like midwives, for example, perform screenings in alternate sites of care, like the home. In this scenario, they could help identify high-risk pregnancies and recommend those expectant mothers visit the hospital to give birth versus giving birth at home, so that the risk of complications is better managed," Karley Yoder, chief digital officer of ultrasound at GE HealthCare and general manager at Caption Health, told HCB News.

The Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation previously granted Caption Health $4.95 million in 2020 to develop AI technology for lung ultrasound, in order to give providers in limited-resource areas and with a shortage of skilled sonographers access to technologies for diagnosing pneumonia in children.

Earlier that year, the company received FDA clearance to create AI programs that guide untrained clinicians through the steps for performing cardiac ultrasound exams.

Its flagship solution, Caption AI includes Caption Guidance, an application for real-time step-by-step instructions on how to position and manipulate transducers on a patient’s body; and Caption Interpretation, to automatically calculate ejection fraction.

Caption AI also allows healthcare professionals in doctors’ offices, the home, and other care sites to perform echocardiograms and diagnose at-risk patients early.

Ultrasound imaging is often used in fetal and maternal care to assess gestational age, fetal presentation, multiple gestation (more than one fetus), fetal viability, umbilical blood flow, and ectopic pregnancies. It also shows entire views of the lung, is easily repeatable and is more accurate than bedside chest X-rays in diagnosing pneumonia.

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