Making health care more equitable one ultrasound image at a time

Gillian Rutherford

Apr. 28, 2022

AI-powered portable ultrasound system makes scans and diagnoses accessible from anywhere


Imagine if family doctors, nurses, technicians — even ski patrollers — could use handheld ultrasound devices to screen for everything from hip dysplasia to wrist fractures to heart disease from anywhere.

A new approach to scans developed at the University of Alberta pairs the accessibility of portable ultrasound with an artificial intelligence app that can analyze thousands of previous results and provide remote diagnostic support within seconds.

The research will be expanded and the system tested across Alberta thanks to a new $450,000 grant from TD Bank Group (TD) announced today.

The goal of the project is to make access to health care more equitable and improve outcomes for patients, said project lead Jacob Jaremko, a radiologist, associate professor in the Faculty of Medicine & Dentistry and Canada CIFAR AI Chair at the Alberta Machine Intelligence Institute (Amii).

“It really is a whole different model of care,” Jaremko said. “You're taking expertise learned from the experts in the hospital and delivering it to the patients, rather than having the patients come to the hospital.”

“The work being done at the University of Alberta to advance portable ultrasound capabilities and pair it with AI technologies will help improve access to timely medical diagnoses and care, particularly for those living in remote and Indigenous communities,” said Robert Ghazal, TD senior vice-president for branch banking in the Prairie region.

“Through the TD Ready Commitment, the Bank's global corporate citizenship platform, we are proud to support innovative solutions like this one that will help create more equitable health outcomes for all.”