A technology entrepreneur fed up with the time-consuming workflows behind teleradiology developed a cloud-based platform that could potentially make other parts of healthcare more efficient.
Cody Ebberson is the CEO and co-founder at MedXT, a Y Combinator company. In a phone interview with MedCity News he talked about his experience in teleradiology that spurred the development of the FDA-cleared technology. It drew his attention to some of the factors that slow down image sharing in healthcare.
Teleradiology companies face a couple of challenges. One set is related to interoperability — getting set up and the high cost of connecting systems. The sector continues to struggle with exchanging X-rays, CT scans and ultrasound images efficiently, Ebberson observed.
DVDs are used to save images, a process which can make them needlessly cumbersome to deliver. Another issue is that the reports providing a diagnosis or observations about the radiology images tend to be faxed. The process of adding those faxes to the system often means losing rich data. There’s also the lack of transparency. How can people who come into contact with any one patient’s images easily assess who else has seen them?
“That was my trial by fire in healthcare,” said Ebberson. “It was an operational void. I knew we could do a better job.”
The company has an affordable business model. Payment depends on how much radiology practices use the software-as-a-service. It is currently used in 300 facilities in 25 states and 11 countries such as Turkey, Hungary, India, Russia, Japan, the Philippines and Vietnam. It uses a multilingual interface.
Even though MedXT received FDA clearance months ago, Ebberson said the company has kept a low profile so it could nail down the execution of its technology with early adopters.
Since the company’s technology is cloud-based, it can be extended to other medical applications such as second opinion consults and medical education. Ebberson points out that it powers Crowdmed’s imaging component. CrowdMed is a service for crowdsourced diagnoses. It also provides images for a Reddit subcommunity of radiologists who can review complicated and interesting cases on the channel.
Among other potential applications for the platform it has identified are:
- Hyper specialization in which complex cases are routed to the top specialist in a particular field for consults instead of relying on who is locally available.
- In the future, nurses, assistants and technologists will scan, sample and examine patients. Doctors will be “behind the digital curtain” planning care.
- Speed up long research and development cycle for medical devices and improve quality of orthopedic planning tools.