Enlitic is an interesting startup we’ve already covered on mHealth Spot before. Using a kind of artificial intelligence, the company wants to assist doctors in the diagnosis and prognosis of diseases. And it has just announced a $2 million seed round, led by Amplify with participation of Data Collective.
Relying on a computational technique called deep learning, which entails training systems called artificial neural networks on lots of information derived from a variety of inputs, Enlitic aims to process huge heaps of CT scans, x-rays, and other images and then unearth latent patterns in new images.
The San Francisco-based company has spent the past few months speaking with pathologists, radiologists, physicians, and hospital administrators, with an eye toward making applications that could be useful in all sorts of situations. They’ve partnered with hospitals in Brazil, China, India, and the U.S.; as well as hardware makers and teleradiology clinics. What’s more, Enlitic has come across enormous archives of radiology images that can serve as a starting point.
“Nobody knows what to do with those archives,” said Jeremy Howard, Enlitic’s founder and chief executive. “They’re just sitting there, costing money. This is just seen as a big opportunity. It’s like, ‘Oh, this is what we were saving this up for!'”
Aside from collecting the data and adding it to the database, Enlitic’s team has been busy building technology that will be able to return meaningful information from the petabytes of images.
Some challenges stand in the way of the startup’s success, though. For one thing, at least in the U.S., regulations prohibit doctors from making medical images of slides containing blood and other substances. That being said, this sort of technology could first take off in developing countries.
Enlitic is employing the deep learning technology, which entails training systems called artificial neural networks on lots of information derived from a variety of inputs.Looking into the future, Howard imagines a sort of digital microscope or portable ultrasound device that plugs into a smartphone and could then receive diagnostic and prognostic information, based on EHRs and other data sources.
“That would be an example of the kind of thing I would guess you might see in a remote Indian village before you see it in a San Francisco doctor’s clinic,” Howard said. “The benefit being it’s instant, it’s interactive, it’s faster, it’s cheaper, and it’s not replacing the physician. It’s actually giving them a tool they didn’t have before.”
Enlitic launched in August, and is currently employing five people.