Digital Diagnostics teams up with Tamer Healthcare to go deeper into Saudi Arabia

Steven Loeb · February 1, 2023 · Short URL:

The company will get access to the 8 million Saudis who are at risk for diabetic retinopathy

Diabetic retinopathy, an eye condition that can cause vision loss and blindness in people who have diabetes, is not localized to any one particular country, but it is more prevalent in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia than in other parts of the world. 

That's part of why Digital Diagnostics, developer of an autonomous AI diagnostic system that allows diabetic retinopathy to be diagnosed at the point-of-care in front-line care settings, has set its sights on the country. That includes signing an MoU with the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia’s Ministry of Investment this past July to explore collaboration around medical services, medical technology, and digital health. 

"We want to focus our efforts where we can do the most good and over 17% of adults, or 8 million people, in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia have diabetes and are subsequently at risk for diabetic retinopathy," John Bertrand, co-founder and CEO, told VatorNews.  

On Wednesday, the company took another step toward expanding its efforts in the country, announcing a strategic partnership with Tamer Healthcare, a nationwide health and wellness network in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, to distribute IDx-DR, Digital Diagnostics' flagship product, for the detection of diabetic retinopathy, including macular edema.

This partnership will give Digital Diagnostic access to the 8 million people in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia living with diabetes that need their eyes tested for diabetic retinopathy each year.

"Tamer's expertise and understanding of the unique opportunities and challenges within the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia will be invaluable as we expand into this new market and reach a new patient population," said Bertrand. 

"We expect our partnership with Tamer’s extensive network will allow us to reach all corners of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia’s healthcare delivery. Over time, working with Tamer allows us the possibility to reach not only traditional hospitals and clinics but retail health facilities."

IDx-DR is used by primary care clinics, value-based care groups, health systems and integrated delivery networks, as well as retail pharmacies and diagnostic chains. The company has more than 500 customers contracted in the United States, and more overseas, including the University of Iowa Hospitals and Clinics.

Along with its plans to distribute IDx-DR in more care settings, the partnership with Tamer Healthcare also includes plans for future development and expansion of artificial intelligence technology.

"As we stand up in-country AI developers, the conversation has heavily focused on the development of AI to improve health outcomes and impact the greatest population in alignment with the Kingdom of Saudi’s Vision 2030," Bertrand explained. 

Vision 2030 is Saudi Arabia's economic and social reform blueprint, which he called, "An ambitious reimagining of several key industries within the kingdom."

This vision for expanding its AI capabilities lines up with Digital Diagnostics' future plan to expand beyond the detection of disease but wants to also accelerate the development of treatments.

"As we move forward, we are focused on expanding our portfolio of algorithms in a manner that has the greatest impact on patient outcomes. We see ourselves as the platform for building, validating, and deploying equitable algorithms that expand patient access and remove bias from the system," Bertrand said.

"We feel this partnership is a vote of confidence in our product, both current and future, and we look forward to what this means for AI distribution in the country. We are honored to be a part of their broader vision for healthcare in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia and look forward to collaborating far beyond IDx-DR."

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