Royal Philips received an additional $44.6 million from the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, bringing its total received to $60 million, to support the global deployment of the tech giant’s AI-enabled, FDA-cleared Lumify Ultrasound System.
In 2021, Philips received an initial grant of $15.4 million from the Gates Foundation to develop AI-enabled applications to improve obstetric care in low- and middle-income countries, focusing on underserved communities.
Philips developed its AI to help frontline health workers, such as midwives, identify possible complications during pregnancy.
The tool, which uses informatics, digitization and AI to supply operators with an interpretation of image results, was utilized during a trial period in Kenya, with positive results.
With the new round of funding, Philips will work to expand the adoption of its AI algorithm globally, aiming to decrease the training time of frontline workers in rural underserved communities who triage pregnant women.
“By supporting frontline healthcare workers such as midwives to identify potential problems in pregnancy at an early stage, we aim to significantly reduce the number of women who die because of pregnancy,” Jeff Cohen, general manager of ultrasound at Philips, said in a statement.
“During this next phase, working with the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, we will bring this innovation as a commercial offering to the market to help increase quality access to care and improve maternal health in underserved and rural communities in developed and developing countries worldwide.”
THE LARGER TREND
Medtech giant GE Healthcare received $44 million from the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation in September to develop AI-enabled applications and tools to assist less experienced health professionals in low- and middle-income countries with performing ultrasound scans that address fetal and maternal health and respiratory diseases.
Caption Health, which makes AI-enabled ultrasound guidance software and was acquired by GE HealthCare earlier this year, is slated to lead the development of the technology.
Last year, Butterfly Network, maker of a handheld, smartphone-connected ultrasound system, received a $5 million grant from the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation to expand access to its imaging technology in Sub-Saharan Africa.
Butterfly announced the completion of phase one of its deployment and training program in Kenya last December, through which the company supplied 500 Butterfly iQ+ devices (the company’s FDA 510(k) cleared flagship product) and training to 1,000 healthcare workers in the region.