GE HealthCare's new logoGE HealthCare

(Nasdaq: GEHC)

today announced that it received a $44 million grant from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation.

The foundation issued the grant for GE HealthCare to create user-friendly, AI-assisted ultrasound imaging auto-assessment tools. These tools could aid healthcare professionals with clinical decision information to support more effective ultrasound scans. Such scans include obstetric and lung screening across maternal and fetal care, as well as pediatric lung health.

Chicago-based GE HealthCare said it hopes to expand access to low- and middle-income countries (LMIC) across diverse care sites. Caption Health — acquired by GE HealthCare in February — will design the technology, according to a news release. It intends to enable it to run across a range of ultrasound devices and probes, including lower-cost handheld devices.

“We are proud and excited to have received this grant from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation to make ultrasound more accessible in low- and middle-income countries. Ultrasound is an essential tool for screening and diagnosis of various medical conditions, including the health of expectant mothers and managing respiratory diseases,” said Roland Rott, president and CEO, Ultrasound, GE HealthCare. “However, a key limitation is the guidance of lesser-skilled users to effectively apply affordable point-of-care ultrasound in their care environment. This grant will help bring Caption Health’s leading AI technology customized to more users, and therefore contribute to increased access to higher-quality medical care.”

More about GE HealthCare’s Caption Health and its plans with this grant

Caption Health offers Cardiac Guidance software, which received FDA authorization in 2020. That same year, the company received a grant from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation to develop lung ultrasound technology.

Using machine learning, Caption Guidance differentiates between acceptable and unacceptable image quality. It forms the basis of an interactive AI interface. The interface provides real-time feedback on potential image quality and can auto-capture video clips. It automatically saves the best clip acquired from a particular view.

GE HealthCare said Caption plans to develop multiple lung ultrasound and obstetric algorithms through clinical validation and regulatory submissions.

“Caption Health AI applications are designed to guide healthcare professionals, step-by-step, during an ultrasound exam to help them capture and interpret high-quality ultrasound images,” said Karley Yoder, chief digital officer, Ultrasound, GE HealthCare and GM, Caption Health. “We are thankful for the continued support of the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, which enables us to expand the development of our existing lung ultrasound project and also broaden the reach of this powerful, novel technology to help provide care to mothers and children.”