Not-for-profit targets HIV/Tuberculosis co-epidemic and Black Lung with remote X-ray screening solution

Chicago 29 November 2009The World Health Imaging, Telemedicine and Informatics Alliance (WHITIA) has unveiled Remi-d, a new product concept that is intended to provide remote-operated X-ray capabilities for use in screening across areas of the developing world experiencing the Human Immunodeficiency Virus (HIV) and Tuberculosis (TB) co-epidemic, high incidences of Black Lung disease, or outbreaks of other infectious respiratory diseases. Remi-d is a remote-controlled, self-contained, digital medical X-ray device intended to meet the imaging needs of resource-limited areas such as sub-Saharan Africa, South and Central America and Southeast Asia, where radiologists and technologists are in short supply.

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According to the World Health Organization, two-thirds of the world's population is without access to basic X-ray services - a key component of primary health care delivery. Remi-d is intended to provide advanced capabilities including:

  • Automated patient experience via a computer interface that allows patients to self-manage the multi-lingual capable registration process and retrieve results.
  • Teleradiography through which a remote X-ray technologist can position patients and operate the X-ray equipment.
  • Avatar/Patient Interaction providing a digital representation of the remote technologist in the booth to guide the patient through the X-ray process.
  • Teleradiology that sends Remi-d's images to remote radiologists for interpretation and diagnosis.

WHITIA partnered with Merge Healthcare and SEDECAL to develop Remi-d with the shared goal of deploying the systems worldwide and providing millions of people with the opportunity to receive life-saving health screenings.

"When Remi-d's development has been completed and the device has been approved, we hope to make a significant difference in the screening of diseases worldwide", stated Ivy Walker, Chief Executive Officer of WHITIA. "With the support of partners such as Merge Healthcare and others, WHITIA is well-positioned to continue Remi-d's development and to provide support to sustain the systems when they are ready to be deployed. With ongoing partner and solution development, we believe Remi-d, if approved, could be a leader in remote medical imaging."

"We are extremely pleased to work with WHITIA on this important concept for better global access to diagnostic imaging", stated Justin Dearborn, Chief Executive Officer of Merge Healthcare. "Over the course of our partnership, we have seen many of the human resource and technical barriers to imaging access experienced by developing communities, and Remi-d is intended to specifically address these very issues. We are proud of the role our technology plays with this new and potentially game changing concept."

The WHITIA effort is backed by a group of globally recognized business and health care experts including:

  • Newton N. Minow, Chairman of WHITIA, Senior Counsel at Sidley Austin LLP; former Chair of the Federal Communications Commission and of The RAND Corporation; trustee emeritus of the Mayo Clinic
  • Michael W. Ferro, Jr., Chairman and Chief Executive Officer, Merrick Ventures LLC
  • Max Downham, Executive Director of International College of Surgeons
  • Matthew R. Glucksberg, Professor and Chair of Northwestern University Biomedical Engineering Department
  • David Kelso, Associate Professor of Biomedical Engineering at Northwestern's McCormick School of Engineering and Applied Sciences and Director of the Center for Innovative Global Health Technologies

WHITIA has been offering live demonstrations of the Remi-d prototype in the Merge Healthcare booth at the 95th Annual Scientific Assembly and Annual Meeting of the Radiological Society of North America (RSNA) in Chicago, Illinois. Ivy Walker has also presented an overview of the Remi-d concept at several times during the conference.

The World Health Imaging, Telemedicine & Informatics Alliance is working to improve the health status and quality of health care received by people living in resource-limited areas worldwide by providing communities with access to low-cost, digital imaging and telemedicine solutions; medical professionals who can remotely assist with diagnosis and the technology to facilitate that interaction; and the ability to track health information that can be used to monitor public health trends, resource utilization and improve health care delivery.

WHITIA does this by building and leveraging relationships with key stakeholders such as local health authorities, global non-governmental organisations (NGOs), philanthropic organisations, academic institutions, civil society and the health care technology industry in order to collaborate on the development, deployment and sustaining of affordable imaging and telemedicine solutions.

Remi-d has not yet been submitted for approval to the FDA. There are significant risks and uncertainties in product research and development. Scientific and regulatory hurdles may cause the project to be discontinued or delayed or fail to reach the market. There can be no guarantee that Remi-d will receive regulatory approval, or that it will be commercially successful.


Source: World Health Imaging, Telemedicine and Informatics Alliance - WHITHIA

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