Apollo Hospitals partners Behold.ai for X-ray technology

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India-based Apollo Hospitals Group unit Apollo Radiology International has partnered with UK-based artificial intelligence (AI) radiology firm Behold.ai to use X-ray technology for rapid Covid-19 diagnosis.

The partners will work together on a pilot programme that will involve the use of Behold.ai’s ‘instant triage’ AI-based chest X-ray technology for quick triage of suspected patients.

Behold.ai will provide its red dot algorithm through Apollo Radiology International to Apollo Hospitals’ network of 71 hospitals in India, amounting to 12,000 beds.

The red dot algorithm takes 30 seconds to diagnose chext X-rays as normal or abnormal, said Behold.ai. This ‘instant triage’ is expected to be beneficial than standard human-read processes.

In the UK and Europe, the algorithm secured the CE-Mark approval, along with the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) clearance. The technology is expected to be deployed in the US later this year.

behold.ai chairman and chief executive Simon Rasalingham said: “Our technology has been proven to rapidly diagnose chest X-rays as ‘normal’ or ‘abnormal’ accurately, potentially allowing for faster diagnosis of individuals with Covid-19 and the better management of resources in healthcare systems already stretched by the increase in hospital admissions.

“If successful, this infinitely scaleable pilot programme could make a significant difference to hospitals across India and the rest of the world struggling to manage the Covid-19 pandemic.”

As part of the pilot programme, the algorithm will also be implemented at certain domestic government-run hospitals in the country.

Apollo Radiology International CEO Dr Sreenivasa Raju Kalidindi said: “Radiology reporting for Covid-19 has to be easily accessible, quick and accurate so that immediate decisions can be made on the next steps. To achieve these goals, Apollo Radiology International is setting up a dedicated centralised Covid-19 reporting service.

“Behold.ai’s chest X-ray algorithm will be an important component of this service. The instant triage provided by this algorithm will be a key factor that will allow our radiologists to provide immediate reports for these patients.”