Dive Brief:

  • GE HealthCare has signed a $44 million contract to develop ultrasound technology that enables the diagnosis of patients in mass casualty incidents.
  • The Biomedical Advanced Research and Development Authority (BARDA) entered into the deal with GE HealthCare as part of its work on point-of-use detection and health monitoring tools.
  • BARDA has identified challenges with using 2D ultrasound in trauma care, leading it to task GE HealthCare with developing an automated 4D system and artificial intelligence algorithms.

Dive Insight:

In mass casualty incidents, healthcare professionals need ways to quickly triage patients and identify injuries to organs including the lungs, abdomen and brain. Ultrasound and other imaging technologies can detect traumatic internal injuries, but BARDA is concerned that “use of these devices can take time and may quickly become backlogged in a mass casualty incident.”

BARDA has enlisted GE HealthCare to help mitigate that risk. Under the terms of the deal, the company will “develop two new point-of-care, easy-to-use, ultrasound systems with improved sensitivity and specificity for imaging.” 

The goal is to create systems that enable caregivers to “triage and prioritize patient transport following an acute blast injury in an initial care setting” and to “make decisions in a timely manner using advanced diagnostics in a definitive care setting therefore reducing cost and length of hospital stay.” Existing 2D systems are affected by subjective assessments and variability based on the skill level of the user.

Augmenting ultrasound with AI could address those shortcomings by making it easier for all caregivers to accurately assess patients in emergency situations. GE HealthCare plans to “develop an advanced probe and ultrasound system together with novel AI technology” to simplify the acquisition and interpretation of images, which could enable more people to effectively triage patients.

Earlier this year, GE HealthCare acquired Caption Health, a company that makes AI applications for ultrasound scans. 


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