What You Should Know:
– Caption Health raises $53 million series B round to fuel commercialization and expansion of its FDA-approved AI ultrasound technology. This is on the heels of its receiving FDA clearance, designated as a breakthrough technology to fight against COVID-19.
– As ultrasounds, especially cardiac ultrasounds, have become increasingly important during a time of COVID when resources are stretched, using AI to help more healthcare professionals take high-quality images is extremely important, and Caption helps democratize who can do them by using AI-guided software.
– It’s the first and only technology to allow clinicians without specialized ultrasound training to capture images at the point of care. That helps reduce the risk of exposure to the virus for hospital personnel and the strain on limited resources in hospital emergency rooms and ICUs caring for patients with COVID-19.
Caption Health, a Brisbane, CA-based medical artificial intelligence (AI) company, closed its Series B funding round with $53 million to further develop and commercialize its FDA-cleared, AI-guided ultrasound technology that expands patient access to high-quality and essential care. The financing was led by existing investor DCVC. New investors Atlantic Bridge and cardiovascular medical device leader Edwards Lifesciences also participated, along with existing investor Khosla Ventures.
Emulating Expertise with AI
Caption Health was founded in 2013 on a simple but powerful concept: what if we could use technology to emulate the expertise of highly trained medical experts and put that ability into the hands of every care provider? Caption Health delivers AI systems that empower healthcare providers with new capabilities to acquire and interpret ultrasound exams.
FDA-Cleared AI-Guided Ultrasound Technology
Ultrasound is typically used to diagnose cardiac function. Though access to ultrasound has increased as systems have gotten smaller and more portable, a fundamental challenge remains: performing an ultrasound exam is extremely difficult and requires years of specialized training only a subset of clinicians have. Caption AI, the first and only AI-guided medical imaging acquisition system, allows healthcare providers without lengthy specialized training to perform ultrasound and obtain diagnostic-quality images, which can help support clinical decision-making and deliver valuable cost and time savings for medical institutions.
Caption AI Key Features
The Caption AI platform, which includes Caption Guidance™ and Caption Interpretation™, makes it radically easier to perform ultrasound and obtain diagnostic-quality images by providing:
– Expert Guidance – Caption Guidance provides 90-plus types of real-time feedback and instructions to emulate the guidance of an expert sonographer;
– Automated Quality Assessment – Caption Guidance helps standardize diagnostic-quality exams by accurately assessing, automatically recording, and seamlessly providing real-time feedback on diagnostic image quality;
– Intelligent Interpretation – Caption Interpretation produces an automated ejection fraction calculation—the most widely used measurement to assess cardiac function—from single or multiple cardiac ultrasound views commonly acquired at the point of care (AP4, AP2, PLAX).
Caption AI software is currently available fully integrated with a Terason uSmart 3200T Plus portable ultrasound system, which offers a full range of clinical applications including lung, vascular, and abdominal scanning.
Caption AI is not intended to replace sonographers — instead, it’s pushing ultrasound into new settings and generating referrals to technicians when something shows up in the doctor’s office that needs further examination. In fact, the company is advising the cardiac sonographers’ professional society on developing educational materials for its 17,000 member physicians, sonographers, nurses, veterinarians, and scientists.
Recent FDA Clearance to Fight COVID-19
Caption Health accelerated its plan to bring Caption AI to market in late summer after demand from clinicians caring for patients with COVID-19. Because it allows clinicians without specialized ultrasound training to capture images at the point of care, Caption AI helps reduce both the risk of exposure to the virus for hospital personnel and the strain on limited resources in hospital emergency rooms and ICUs caring for patients with COVID-19. After receiving urgent requests from clinicians at leading hospitals across the country, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration granted Caption Health expedited clearance for Caption AI, which is now commercially available and in use at eleven leading medical centers in the U.S. including Northwestern Medicine, Allina Health, and Minneapolis Heart Institute.
As medical providers restart services which were stopped at the height of the pandemic, Caption AI is being used to address the imaging needs of a wave of chronic, elderly and comorbid patients returning for necessary care. By expanding the capacity to perform an ultrasound, this safe and effective diagnostic tool is poised to become an essential part of care beyond the hospital in settings such as retail clinics or even in the home.
“We are truly grateful to our investors and to our early adopter clinicians, who have believed in us from the beginning,” said Charles Cadieu, CEO of Caption Health. “This capital will enable us to scale our collaborations with leading research institutions, regional health systems and other providers by making ultrasound available where and when it is needed—across departments, inside and outside the hospital. As the world’s first and only AI-guided ultrasound technology, our goal is to enable all clinicians — regardless of prior experience—to capture diagnostic-quality ultrasounds. In doing so, we aim to have a profound impact on the quality and cost of care for millions of patients around the globe—wherever they access care.”
Caption Health will use this funding to scale up its commercial operations, continue to develop its AI technology platform and form new partnerships. As more providers adopt the Caption AI platform, the company plans to add new clinical capabilities to expand the use of Caption AI in additional care settings.