One of the many benefits of being a clinician-led fund is that we can understand the day-to-day realities of medicine and the challenges that clinicians face.
A hard truth is that medical professionals are not just striving to improve patients’ health, but are often battling against time. This is particularly true in the emergency room, where the most common procedure is the radiology exam. A staggering 400 million images are produced every year, worldwide for traumatic injuries and it is the responsibility of radiologists to make sure nothing is missed.
This understanding of the pressures faced by radiologists and the technological solutions that are needed has led Crista Galli Ventures to make our first investment in France, into Gleamer. We are delighted to have participated in Gleamer’s recent €7.5 million series A funding round.
Gleamer is a Paris-based healthtech company that creates AI software to assist radiologists. Their recently developed product, BoneView, is a CE-marked tool which uses AI to help detect traumatic injuries in radiographic images, alerting the healthcare professional to this finding.
BoneView is designed to be an assistant to the radiologist and the results of a promising clinical study demonstrate the huge benefit that this could have for the workload of hospitals. Gleamer tasked six radiologists and six emergency room doctors to interpret 600 traumatic injuries based on medical images, but only half of the participants had the support of BoneView. The results speak for themselves:
The combined team of healthcare professionals and AI lowered the rate of undetected traumatic injuries by 30%. Add to this the significant reduction in time required to analyse the X-rays and you can see the importance of supporting BoneView and a company like Gleamer.
Our founder and Managing Partner Fiona Pathiraja was a Consultant Radiologist in the NHS and knows what an impact this product can make. It is a problem that we understand and can see for what it is – a growing crisis.
Last year, The Royal College of Radiologists analysed the workforce and released a report titled: Clinical Radiology: UK Workforce Census 2019. It found that although the demand for complex MRI and CT imaging increased by 9%, the workforce had only grown by 3%. More than two thirds of radiology departments say they do not have enough radiologists and, worryingly, only 1% of NHS trusts are able to report all scans within radiologists’ contracted hours. This report was finalised before the Covid-19 pandemic and it is likely that the situation has become even graver.
The shortfall between demand and capacity will only increase if we do not solve it now. Of course, part of the solution will be increasing the number of radiologists, but that is not the whole picture. The ways of working can be changed to improve workload and crucially help more patients. The solution therefore can be found in technology.
Over the past seven months, BoneView is being used by more than 50 public and private hospitals in France and nearly 10% of all French radiologists are using it.
We believe that Gleamer’s technology will be crucial for radiologists as they need to balance speed with accuracy when analysing millions of medical images. We are extremely excited to be part of the Series A round that will allow Gleamer to market BoneView further afield and create new products as part of the Gleamer MSK AI offering.