New U of A ultrasound app could improve healthcare around the world

Laine Mitchell

Aug. 19, 2019

A University of Alberta spin off company is hoping the technology will give better access for doctors no matter where they are in the world.

A new ultrasound app will give better access to ultrasounds for doctors no matter where they are in the world.

The app will act as a modern-day stethoscope, using portable ultrasounds and computer analysis to make diagnoses more accessible.

A University of Alberta spin-off company is hoping the technology will make diagnosing health problems possible even from the most remote locations.

"My vision is for a 21st-century stethoscope, a tool where you can look inside the body and use artificial intelligence to help people who are not experts interpret the images," said U of A radiologist Jacob Jaremko.

Jaremko helped form the company that created the app, Medo.ai, two years ago that aims to create and commercialize software that creates and analyzes 3-D images from ultrasounds.

He added that the first on the priorities list with the new technology is to use it to diagnose hip dysplasia in infants, eventually creating a universal ultrasound screening program for infants.

Approximately four babies born in Alberta each day are eventually diagnosed with hip dysplasia.

When diagnosed early, hip dysplasia can be treated with a simple harness worn by an infant for a few weeks. Left untreated, it can lead to lifelong hip arthritis.

The goal of the technology is to help to diagnose cases early in a bid to eliminate the need for surgeries in adults who were born with hip dysplasia and were never diagnosed.

The new system allows for a 3-D image to be taken instead of the traditional 2-D, with the images being uploaded and compared with a large data set of other imagesto provide a better diagnosis.

Medo.ai is already testing applications of the technology for other types of injuries and conditions.

"We want to take the expertise of the hospital to the patient, rather than have the patient come to the hospital," Jaremko said.

The creators of Medo.ai are set to apply for U.S. Food and Drug Administration clearance by the end of this year and hope to begin pilots at the U of A and several countries around the world in 2020.

The team hopes to have a proven hip dysplasia detection appready for market within 18 months, and aim to have it in use throughout Alberta within five years.