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Caption Health uses AI to make ultrasound more ubiquitous and easier to use
Steven Loeb and Bambi Francisco Roizen speak with Steve Cashman, President and CEO of Caption Health, a company that wants to make ultrasound more ubiquitous, using AI to expand accessibility.
Our overall goal is to understand how technology is radically changing healthcare: the way we screen, treat and measure progress and outcomes. How we’re empowering the consumer. Whether we’re creating productivity that drives economic costs down. And how tech advancements change the role of the doctor.
Highlights from the interview:
- There have not a lot of advancements in ultrasound for the last 50 years, so there’s an opportunity to present data and bring an earlier picture of health. The problem has been that it’s hard to use and it's been expensive, but now the probe technology is moving from analog to digital, and that is going to provide a portable, low cost probe that allows us to move care from the hospital to the home and the primary care office.
- Caption created AI that tells healthcare professionals where to drive the probe, so it's actually like a guidance system. The AI is also understanding the image of what it’s seeing, and it also has an AI algorithm that auto captures the image. These are areas where a lot of errors made, where they'll miss part of the image, or maybe it won't be of the right quality. Caption’s AI actually helps them find the right spot, make sure it's of diagnostic quality, and auto captures it, so it takes a lot of burden off the user.
- Caption’s regulatory approvals allow any medical professional to use its technology, as far down the line as a medical assistant. Caption was deployed in 10 primary care clinics in Chicago this year, and trained 34 medical assistants, who had a 98% success rate. Cashman believes that consumers will eventually be able to use this in the home, but not in the immediate future.
- The way we deal with heart failure today is we often wait for the symptoms, and then we order an image to understand if that's what's causing the symptoms. Heart failure doesn't happen overnight, and a lot of times people find it too late or they may even have a catastrophic event before they even know that they have a problem. It's the leading cause of death in the world, 17.9 million people died last year from heart failure.
- There's a lot of over diagnosis today but heart failure is different as it's a progressive disease. Unlike cancer, heart failure in early stages is reversible through lifestyle changes or drugs that can really extend the life of the person. The earlier you catch it, the earlier you personally can have an impact.
- A stethoscope gets you about a third of the information you need to understand what's going on, so you really need the rest of the picture to understand what's causing a problem. Cashman sees ultrasound replacing the stethoscope, and being a fundamental part of the annual health assessment or the annual checkup at the GPS office, and bringing us a much quicker diagnosis.
- There are risk models built into Medicare Advantage, so the doctors is incentivized to spend more time to manage the at-risk patients in order to avoid emergency visit. And so, in HCC coding. a patient that has Stage C heart failure will bring an additional $3,900 more per year to the health plan, and ultimately back to the doctor in a value-based agreement to take care of that patient. We spend 80% of our money on 20% of our people, and a large portion of that 20% have heart failure, and so we want to be proactive, and that HCC model or risk adjusted model creates more revenue to manage that patient, because the amount of time they need to put into that.
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