GE HealthCare announced it received a grant from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation for more than $44 million to create user-friendly, artificial intelligence (AI)-assisted ultrasound imaging auto-assessment tools. These tools will seek to aid healthcare professionals—even those without specialized training or experience with ultrasound—with clinical decision information to support more effective obstetric and lung screening ultrasound scans across maternal and fetal care as well as pediatric lung health, with a goal of expanding access to low-and-middle income countries (LMIC) and across diverse sites of care.
Caption Health, a medical AI specialist acquired by GE HealthCare in February 2023, will design this technology to run across a range of ultrasound devices and probes, including lower-cost handheld devices.
Maternal and child mortality is a critical healthcare issue around the world. In 2020, almost 800 women died every day from preventable causes linked to pregnancy and childbirth, with approximately 95 percent of all maternal deaths occurring in LMIC. In 2019, 2.4 million children around the world died in their first month of life. Ultrasound technologies are used in maternal care to determine fetal health markers and conditions like gestational age, fetal presentation, multiple gestation (more than one fetus), fetal viability, umbilical blood flow, and ectopic pregnancy.
For children younger than five years old, pneumonia is the leading cause of death worldwide. Because symptoms of pneumonia can develop suddenly, early diagnosis is vital to effective treatment and preventing complications. Point of care lung ultrasound can provide physicians with a view of the entire lung, is easily repeatable and can diagnose pneumonia with greater accuracy compared with a bedside chest X-ray.
In 2020, Caption Health received a grant from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation to support the development of innovative AI technology for lung ultrasound.
Currently, Caption Health offers Cardiac Guidance software, which is FDA cleared. With the support of the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation grant, Caption Health will develop multiple lung ultrasound and obstetric algorithms through clinical validation and regulatory submissions.