GE Healthcare buys ultrasound guidance startup Caption Health

Steven Loeb · February 9, 2023 · Short URL:

This is GE Healthcare's second acquisition since spinning off and going public last month

There have not been a lot of advancements in ultrasound for the last 50 years, mostly because it's difficult to use, and because it's expensive. Now that probe technology is moving from analog to digital, though, that's making it both portable and low cost, allowing care to move care from the hospital to other settings, including the home and the primary care office. 

Caption Health is a company taking advantage of these advancements to make ultrasound more ubiquitous: it uses AI to the expand accessibility of ultrasound exams to include more healthcare professionals, not just those specially trained to handle the device, while also delivering faster results to the patient.

Now Caption will be able to get its technology into the hands of more healthcare professionals, and more patients, since it announced on Thursday that it's been acquired by GE Healthcare. While no financial terms of the deal were disclosed, GE Healthcare did say it would finance the acquisition with cash on hand. 

Founded in 2013, Caption's platform, called Caption Care, deploys AI that acts like a guidance system, telling healthcare professionals where to drive the ultrasound probe. It also understands the image of what it’s seeing, while also auto capturing it, meaning it takes over areas where a lot of errors are made thanks to the image being missed or not being good quality.

Instead, Caption’s AI helps find the right spot, and makes sure it's of diagnostic quality, so it takes a lot of burden off the professional taking the ultrasound. And, because it's easier to use, it allow any medical professional to use its technology, as far down the line as a medical assistant.

As of 2022, the company's technology was deployed in 10 primary care clinics in Chicago and has trained 34 medical assistants, who had a 98% success rate.

As part of this acquisition, Caption Health will continue to provide management and administrative services to affiliated medical services providers.

"We are incredibly proud of the technology we have built and together with GE HealthCare, look forward to bringing this technology to more patients across the globe," Caption Health CEO Steve Cashman said in a statement.

"Combining our AI applications with GE HealthCare’s ultrasound devices will help accelerate our mission to detect disease earlier, when an easily obtained diagnostic image can be a great equalizer to health quality and outcomes. This will ultimately help us reduce costs and enhance care."

This is GE's second acquisition since it debuted on Nasdaq after officially splitting off from its parent company last month; GE previously entered into an agreement to acquire IMACTIS, a company in the field of computed tomography interventional guidance.

“Guiding ultrasound users during examinations with the help of AI is of growing importance, especially as we reach a broader set of healthcare professionals," said Roland Rott, GE HealthCare Ultrasound President and CEO.

"Caption Health’s AI applications help enable reliable, consistent ultrasound examinations to deliver more precise diagnoses, improved treatment decision-making, and ultimately improved patient outcomes. This tuck-in acquisition will help expand affordable access to ultrasound imaging to novice users and is aligned with a broader shift to precision care globally.” 

GE Healthcare's stock dropped 2.51% on Thursday, or $1.76, to $68.41 a share.

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