Zebra strikes deal to bring AI image analysis to Asia, Africa

Zebra Medical Vision has teamed up with India’s Teleradiology Solutions (TRS) to bring its AI-enabled image analysis system to 20 countries in Asia and Africa. The agreement will see Zebra’s medical image analyzing algorithms pushed to up to 150 hospitals around the world.

Shefayim, Israel-based Zebra has targeted hospitals in the U.S. and Europe since it began sharing tools to detect liver, lung, bone and cardiovascular diseases in 2015. But its belief that the value of its service lies in its ability to bridge the gap between demand and supply in radiology means large, fast-developing countries such as India have always been central to its long-term plans.

In such countries, the fast expansion of the middle class could cause demand for radiology services to outstrip supply. Zebra thinks it can fix this problem by allowing radiologists to share the burden of analyzing images with its algorithms.

The partnership with TRS’ technology unit—Telerad Tech—puts this idea into action.

“Our partnership with Telerad Tech will help us bridge the growing gap between demand and supply of radiology services, and allow developing healthcare economies to make a leap in their quality of care by using state of the art deep learning technology,” Zebra CEO Elad Benjamin said in a statement.

Zebra’s new partner provides teleradiology services to 150 hospitals in about 20 countries from its base in India. Some of the hospitals are in the U.S. But many of them are in countries Zebra is yet to target. TRS’ network includes sites in Singapore, Nigeria, Tanzania, Uganda and India.

Gaining access to this network continues a busy period for Zebra, a 2016 Fierce 15 company. Over the past year, Zebra has added algorithms for predicting risk of cardiovascular events and detecting vertebral compression fractures to its growing list of diagnostic tools. And it has secured a CE mark for a handful of its algorithms.

Zebra will need to keep improving its capabilities and solidifying its presence in new markets if it is to establish itself among the giants of medical imaging. For now, Zebra thinks its focus on algorithms has given it first-mover advantage over larger image software and medical AI companies such as IBM, Philips and Siemens.