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Singapore-based healthcare technology startup Claritas has developed a cloud-based medical imaging platform to enhance the quality and accessibility of radiology images for doctors and patients.
At present, technical and licencing restrictions around the distribution of medical images, such as chest X-ray scans, from radiology labs make it difficult for doctors to obtain the images when they are offsite.
Instead, they often receive text-based reports and low-resolution snapshots of images, instead of full access to electronic medical records.
Vas Metupalle, head of business development at Claritas, said the company’s tRAD platform addresses those challenges, by enhancing medical images using deep neural networks to help doctors make more accurate diagnoses.
The platform is hosted on Google Cloud, which is also providing its healthcare application programming interface (API) to enable Claritas to tap a wider market across multiple cloud datacentres while complying with security and data sovereignty requirements.
The Google Cloud Healthcare API ensures interoperability and compliance with standards such as Health Level 7 (HL7), Fast Healthcare Interoperability Resources (FHIR), Digital Imaging and Communications in Medicine (DICOM), as well as Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA).
Metupalle said tRAD is already being used by some research organisations in North America and that Claritas is looking to test it in clinical settings within hospitals.
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Asked if hospitals have been hesitant to host medical images and patient records on the cloud, Metupalle said many healthcare institutions have accepted that the cloud is the way to go.
“In Indonesia, we are working on sending medical images from rural hospitals to Jakarta for reporting and that can only happen with the cloud,” Metupalle told Computer Weekly. “The bandwidth for uploading images from local labs is too low, and doctors will get bored by the time they see the images.”
Claritas is now looking to broaden its reach beyond radiology labs to general practitioner (GP) and specialist clinics that will be able to upload medical images from a CD or flash drive to tRAD, which will then analyse the images and provide reports.
It is also expanding tRAD’s capabilities to enhance a greater variety of images, such as retina scans, and to improve its image enhancement algorithms which have been developed over three years. It employs a team of data scientists in Europe and is now building a similar team in Singapore.