Israeli startup partners with GE to help patients get quicker ultrasound reads

GE Healthcare will incorporate Beersheba-based DiA’s automated imaging analysis software into its ultrasound devices

Illustrative ultrasound of a child's knee joint (endopack, IStock by Getty Images)
Illustrative ultrasound of a child's knee joint (endopack, IStock by Getty Images)

GE Healthcare, the medical unit of US giant General Electric, will be working with DiA Imaging Analysis to incorporate the automated imaging technology developed by the Beersheba-based startup within its ultrasound devices.

The two firms said last month they signed a multi-year, non-exclusive licensing and professional services agreement.

DiA has developed and is selling its automated imaging analysis software to deliver immediate and accurate interpretations of ultrasound images for so-called “point of care settings,” enabling medical professionals — in intensive care units, emergency rooms or even ambulances — to make a quick ultrasound diagnosis using smaller or even handheld ultrasound devices.

DiA’s software uses advanced pattern recognition and machine learning algorithms to create fully automated tools, imitating the way the human eye identifies borders and motion. The algorithms produce quick, accurate and automated data for diagnosis, the firm said.

Hila Goldman Aslan DiA’s CEO and co-founder (Courtesy)

DiA’s first product is cardiac ultrasound software, which has received approvals from the US Food & Drug Administration and by the regulators in Europe. The technology can be used for other purposes as well, and the company is planning to soon launch additional automated imaging analysis tools, said DiA CEO and co-founder Hila Goldman Aslan in a phone interview.

The idea is to  create a “revolution” in the field of medical imaging analysis, by developing fully automated and accurate software tools that can be used easily and quickly, anywhere and anytime, the company says on its website.

“The vision, I think, of the ultrasound companies is that eventually it will be like a stethoscope,” said Aslan. “The average physician will carry such a small device, which is based on the mobile phone.”

“GE Healthcare has a long history of bringing innovative solutions to our customers around the world,” said Rob Walton, general manager of GE Healthcare Primary & Affordable Care, in a statement. “These tools would bring new capabilities to ultrasound at the point of care.”

DiA hopes its automated tools for ultrasound analysis will be used also on mobile devices (Courtesy)

Aslan said that changes in the ultrasound market have benefited DiA.

“Once the devices became cheaper and the quality is very good — not as good as the high-end but very good — you started to see those devices at what we call point-of-care,” said Aslan.

This means that if ten years ago when a patient needed an ultrasound they would go to the specialized ultrasound unit — using bulky tech costing upwards of $100,000 — now patients are treated with mid-range ultrasound devices costing $40,000, as well as hand-held devices costing between $8,000 and $10,000.

GE Healthcare, which had revenues of more than $18 billion last year, has been on the scout for innovative and disruptive technologies, and has recently announced partnerships to further its AI, imaging and bioprocessing capabilities, including with Israeli startups like MedyMatch Technology.

DiA, founded in 2009 by Aslan, Michal Yaacobi and Arnon Toussia-Cohen and formerly known as DiaCardio — has raised $2.75 million in funding to date, according to Start-up Nation Central, a nonprofit that tracks the industry. Investors include China’s Shengjing group, one of China’s largest management consulting and private equity investment advisory firms, Israeli VC fund AltaIR Capital and CE Ventures.

In 2015 DiA won the Shengjing Global Innovation Award.

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