Israeli brain scan-reading AI-based software gets thumbs up from FDA, Time

Tel Aviv-based Aidoc’s technology analyzes medical images to assist radiologists with prioritization of life-threatening cases

Illustrative image of a brain scan (utah778; iStock by Getty Images)
Illustrative image of a brain scan (utah778; iStock by Getty Images)

Israel’s Aidoc, a maker of software that helps radiologists in their work, is on a roll: In August the company said it received US Food and Drug Administration approval for its first product, a deep learning solution that assists radiologists in detecting acute brain bleeds in CT scans, and earlier this month the startup was listed by Time magazine as one of the 50 Genius companies for 2018, along with the likes of Apple, Airbnb and Spotify.

Aidoc’s artificial intelligence-based software analyzes medical images immediately after patients are scanned and notifies radiologists of unusual findings, to assist with prioritization of time-sensitive and potentially life-threatening cases.

The startup, founded in 2016 by a team of alumni of an elite technology unit in the Israeli army, where they focused on AI-based projects, has been selling its products outside the US since December 2017. Its software has been deployed in over 50 medical centers worldwide, where they are used on a daily basis analyzing over 1 million exams a year, the company said in a recent statement.

With over 75% of all patient care involving radiology, the amount of imaging required has jumped. Radiologists are being pressured to produce quality results at a faster pace with increasing amounts of data — but with tools that are not up to the task, the company said.

Elad Walach, CEO, center, Michael Braginsky (CTO), left, and Guy Reiner (VP R&D), the co-founders of Aidoc (Courtesy)

By providing radiologists with a tool to analyze medical images like CT scans at high speed, the Tel Aviv-based company has helped practitioners save more than 50,000 hours of human work, Time magazine said.

The brain scan product is the “world’s first deep learning solution” that has been approved by the FDA to assist radiologists in their workflow, Aidoc said in August.

The technology is already being used at Sheba Medical Center in Ramat Gan, Israel, helping radiologists and patients who otherwise would have perhaps suffered from undetected brain anomalies.

Aidoc’s products integrate seamlessly into the daily workflow of radiologists, said CEO and co-founder Elad Walach in a phone interview, and also are able to provides solutions for readings across the body, he said.

“Radiology is one of the most data-heavy fields in medicine,” Walach said, and “it’s impossible to glean the full value of this data without the assistance of AI.” So, he said, “we wanted to provide a tool that worked in the background — that was always-on, and analyzed these amounts of data in real-time, helping steer the radiologist to urgent findings.”

He said the founding team — including the co-founders Michael Braginsky (CTO) and Guy Reiner (VP R&D), had a strong belief that healthcare is the sector where the AI expertise they gleaned in the army could have the biggest impact.

The healthcare field is a “blue ocean” of opportunities for artificial intelligence technologies, Walach said.

Aidoc is in the process of getting FDA clearance for its other products as well, which help in in the detection of a wide set of acute pathologies in the body, the company said in a statement.

An illustrative CT scan of a brain shows ischemic stroke and hemorrhagic stroke (stockdevil; iStock by Getty Images)

“Aidoc is providing radiologists with the most advanced solutions to increase efficiency and expedite patient care within their existing work environment,” Dr. Chen Hoffmann, the head of Sheba Medical Center’s Neuroradiology department, said in a statement. “As the head of Neuroradiology, I feel confident that the Aidoc solution has my back. I know that as I’m working, the AI solution running in the background will let me know when there’s an urgent case that needs my attention.”

Aidoc is not the only Israeli company using AI to help radiologists better read scans. MedyMatch Technology Ltd. also uses algorithms to pinpoint intracranial hemorrhages in scans, for example.  Earlier this year, MedyMatch was granted Expedited Access Pathway and Breakthrough Device designation by the FDA for intracranial hemorrhage detection.

“With the evidence I’ve seen, in the not so distant future, it will almost be unthinkable to practice radiology without the assistance of solutions like Aidoc,” Dr. Barry D. Pressman, chairman of Imaging at Cedars-Sinai Medical Center in Los Angeles, California, said in the statement.

 Aidoc investors include funds TLV Partners, Magma Venture Partners and Emerge. The company has raised $13 million in two investment rounds, Wallach said.

Other ‘Genius’ companies

Lishtot, a Jerusalem-based startup that has developed a $50 key chain-like device that can detect contaminants in water such as E. coli, lead, arsenic, mercury, copper and chlorine in just two seconds, was the second Israeli company listed in the Time ranking.

Lishtot Detection Ltd.has developed its TestDrop, a key chain-like device and app that detects contaminants in water (Olivier Fitussi for Lishtot)

WeWork, the US office-sharing firm founded by Israeli Adam Neumann, was also named as one of the 50 Genius companies by Time.

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