GE Health says it plans to develop an AI-assisted ultrasound imaging tool that is so easy to use, that even healthcare providers without specialized training will be able to operate it. The device’s research and development will be funded by a $44 million grant from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, which has historically invested in the roll-out of new technologies in resource-poor settings to address gaps in healthcare access.
GE says the AI-powered imaging technology has been designed to be dispersed to low-and-middle income countries where the services of healthcare providers may be stretched thin. The ultrasound tool will be more effective at providing clear readings of lung and ultrasound scans across maternal and fetal care as well as pediatric lung health. These areas of medicine are particularly notable because maternal and child mortality is mostly preventable if medical intervention occurs early. Proper medical imaging is key to achieving timely diagnosis, guides treatment decisions and can improve treatment outcomes.
GE’s $3 billion ultrasound business, has recently focused on the development pipeline of AI software with the acquisition of med tech companies like Caption Health, which will help design this particular ultrasound device. The company appears committed to a strategy of increasing spending on AI-related projects both now and in the near future.