Artificial intelligence (AI) is quickly proving to be a valuable tool in virtually all industries. However, a key application for this revolutionary technology can be seen in the healthcare sector, where early signs of its potential are evident.
Idx, an Iowa-based firm, represents one of the startups that are currently utilizing AI in detecting early signs of specific medical conditions. The company’s first system dubbed IDx-DR entails an artificial intelligence(AI) diagnostic tool that evaluates retina images in a bid to spot signs of diabetic retinopathy, which is a diabetes condition resulting from high sugar levels.
What this means is that healthcare experts who are not qualified eye care professionals can utilize the IDx-DR system in detecting diabetic retinopathy without having to seek the help of a specialist clinician to interpret the image results or scan.
Back in April this year, Idx was granted FDA clearance for the IDx-DR, and later in June, the system was implemented in clinical practice, specifically at the University of Iowa Health Care.
Recently, the company disclosed a $33 million financing tranche that was led by 8VC alongside the support of other firms like Heritage Provider Network, Alpha Edison, and Optum Ventures. This exercise propelled the company’s financing beyond the $44 million mark (to date). Furthermore, Idx is currently positioned to boost the growth of IDx-DR in the medical field.
“We expect this investment to accelerate the adoption of IDx-DR, a unique and much-needed solution for the 30 million people with diabetes in the U.S. alone who need to be tested for diabetic retinopathy each year,” said Idx‘s Vice Chairperson Stefan D. Abrams.
Artificial Health (AI) in Health
Several months ago, Zebra Medical Vision secured $30 million from some key investors, primarily for a deep learning image analytics platform that aids radiologists in detecting diseases.
Also, Viz.ai is also beginning to utilize artificial intelligence (AI) in detecting early signs of medical conditions that are time-sensitive. The firm’s first product is known for assessing brain scans mainly for signs of stroke. Viz. ai recently secured $21 million from Alphabet’s VC arm GV as well as Kleiner Perkins.
In other news, Google’s AI-based Gradient Ventures invested its money in BenchSci, an AI-driven search engine targeting biomedical researchers, whereas GV invested in Owkin, a medical learning startup.
With increasing public concern regarding the extent to which AI would destroy job opportunities, among other key safety worries, artificial intelligence(AI) technology that can display its value, particularly in the medical domain, will give the remarkable technology a greater opportunity of winning people in the long run.
“Some of the biggest companies in the world are trying to implement AI in health care, but Idx is leading the way in real-world execution.
The company leveraged Iowa’s ophthalmology expertise to develop a clinically inspired AI — not a black box. This innovative, biomarker-based approach has separated Idx from the hype, allowing them to become the first to introduce autonomous AI-based technologies to health care,” added Drew Oetting, an 8VC founding partner.
Away from diabetic retinopathy, Idx asserted that it is currently creating other AI-based diagnostic systems for detecting stroke risk, glaucoma, and cardiovascular disease among other conditions.