Supporting amazing teams solving massive problems is why we do what we do. When they help save lives, it is that much more exciting. We just led a $27m round in Aidoc – the leading AI for radiology company – and here’s why…
As always, it starts with the team
Co-founders Elad Walach, Michael Braginsky and Guy Reiner are special people. They all went through military service together, serving in Israel’s elite-of-the-elite unit, Talpiot, often referred to as Israel’s Brains Trust.
With backgrounds in AI research, vision technology and high-performance computing, they decided they wanted to apply their skills somewhere that could have a genuine impact on the world. What better place, they thought, than healthcare – improving patient outcomes and saving lives.
It’s not just that they are notably curious thinkers, problem solvers or high-quality executers – the things that are important to us at Square Peg are clearly important to them, and that’s why it was such a good match. They have incredible respect for each other, their entire team and are passionate about building a strong culture – with empowerment and ownership core values. Speaking with a number of the Aidoc staff it was quickly clear that they all think of Aidoc as their company too; that they feel a responsibility to deliver the best product to market–not only to build a successful organisation, but to transform patient care.
Radiologists are under siege
The demand for radiological services is climbing at an enormous rate– more patients are being sent for scans, more scans are required per patient, there’s more detail/complexity of scanning equipment; all of this, without anywhere near the same growth in radiologists to provide these services.
The result is that less time is being spent looking at each image and some images are not being viewed at all. To put this in context, one hospital we spoke to produces so many images that the average viewing time per image is…1 second!
With these sorts of figures, it is inevitable that mistakes are made – critical issues missed, patients misdiagnosed, diagnosis times blowing out – the results of which can be fatal. Whilst radiologists today are hanging on and doing an excellent job of it, it is an unsustainable trend in the healthcare system.
AI is an obvious answer
There are a few reasons why AI is an obvious answer to this problem. Firstly, advancements in computer vision technology over the last 5-10 years have pushed the field to the point where, in some areas, computers are at least as good if not better than humans in recognising images.
Secondly, and specifically with regards to medical imaging (MRI, CT, Xray, etc.), most of the industry has moved to digital imaging which has two benefits: the existence of very large data sets to train and test AI algorithms, and the ability to apply these algorithms in hospitals seamlessly in real time.
While we all hope for the best medical care when we need it, unfortunately, that isn’t always possible. The reality is that doctors get tired, are under extreme pressures, have varying levels of experience and training, etc.; AI can help solve these issues and ensure greater care, all the time.
Given the trends in healthcare and the advancements in image recognition, we are convinced that AI will be a critical part of radiology workflows moving forward.
“With the evidence I’ve seen – in the not so distant future, it will almost be unthinkable to practice radiology without the assistance of solutions like Aidoc” - Dr. Barry D. Pressman, MD, Chairman of Imaging at Cedars-Sinai Medical Center and former president of ACR (American College of Radiology)
Aidocs solution is designed to work together with radiologists, rather than replace them. They help prevent misdetection, expedite customer care and increase the efficiency of radiologists. All of this while integrating directly into the existing workflows of their customers – a critical part of their early success.
What became clear to us is just how much Aidoc have achieved in their short life so far, emerging as the leader in the space. They were one of the first to have their product FDA cleared, have live deployments in 10s of hospitals, including some of the biggest and most well-known, have processed over 1 million live medical images, and most importantly are demonstrating significant improvements in patient outcomes.
With products covering the head, chest, spine and abdomen, Aidoc is already one of the most comprehensive solutions available, and this is just the beginning…
Footnote: second best is good for us
We had all expected signing the term sheet to be the most exciting event that day for both the Aidoc team and ours – completing a fundraise / investment usually is! – however, it was the same day Elad found out he was going to be a father for the first time… and for something as exciting as that, we were happy to take second place.
We are super pumped to be joining Elad, Michael, Guy and the entire team as they take the next step in their journey, and a special good luck to Elad (we suspect he’ll enjoy the advantage of understanding the ultrasound!)