Medical imaging roundup: Exo makes smartphone medical imaging easier, MIT engineers develop stamp-sized ultrasound adhesives

Medical imaging startup to watch: Exo acquires Medo to ease handheld medical imaging

The news: Medical devices company Exo snapped up Canadian AI company Exo to simplify ultrasounds. Exo will integrate Medo’s Sweep AI technology onto its ultrasound platform.

How it works: Medo’s FDA-cleared AI algorithms draw on a vast ultrasound image library and longitudinal health data to advance disease detection.

The Medo algorithms sync up with Exo’s hardware and workflow technologies, including Exo Works, which Exo launched in March to streamline documentation, billing, and quality assurance.

The bigger picture: Digital tools are easing workflows for all medical professionals. Ultrasounds are no longer just for medical imaging technicians.

Caregivers can snap medical images themselves using technology such as Medo’s Sweep AI.

  • In fact, healthcare providers will save money by using handheld devices like smartphones rather than imaging carts.
  • “The ease of imaging and immediacy of diagnostic information we provide will radically transform medical care, creating a world where caregivers can image the body as easily as snapping a photo on a smartphone,” said Medo CEO Dornoosh Zonoobi in a statement.

Combining handheld, point-of-care ultrasound systems with cloud workflow platforms also eases medical students’ learning, and doctors can review images in the cloud.

But healthcare organizations must get healthcare execs and leaders to trust AI tools.

  • 25% of healthcare executives expressed a lack of trust/buy-in in implementing AI in the December 2021 Center for Connected Medicine (CCM) and KLAS Research survey 2022 Top of Mind for Top Health Systems.

Go deeper: Read more about how technology can help or hinder physicians’ workflows in our Digital Doctors 2022 report.

Medical imaging startup to watch: MIT engineers develop ultrasound stamps

The news: MIT researchers developed a sticker-size ultrasound scanner that attaches to the skin with clear hydrogel elastomer, per a July 28 paper in Science.

MIT funded the study along with the National Science Foundation, the National Institutes of Health, the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency, and the US Army Research Office through the Institute for Soldier Nanotechnologies at MIT.

How it works: The adhesive ultrasound stamp, about one square inch in size and a few millimeters thick, attaches to the skin to capture live high-res ultrasound images of the heart, lungs, stomach, and major blood vessels. Study subjects biked, jogged, stood, and sat all while wearing the adhesive ultrasound device.

  • The patch connects to instruments that translate reflected sound waves into images, per MIT.
  • Researchers envision the patches communicating with a mobile phone, where mobile apps would use AI algorithms to analyze images.
  • Liquid hydrogel allows the acoustic waves to take high-res images of internal organs.

The bigger picture: Revolutioning ultrasounds with stickers could make the job of trained medical technicians easier—but don’t ditch the ultrasound wands and probes just yet. The ultrasound sticker requires connecting other instruments to translate sound waves into images.

Still, the sticker-size device can ease the workflow for medical imaging.

  • They reduce the length of time technicians must place wands and probes on patients.
  • Perhaps patients could eventually pick up these wearable ultrasound stickers in pharmacies and attach them to their skin to collect data for their next telehealth session.

Go deeper: Read more about innovations that capture remote data in our Remote Patient Monitoring report.

"Behind the Numbers" Podcast