Thursday, February 22, 2024

PH startup that reads X-ray images gets investment from Kickstart

Lifetrack Medical Systems (LTM), a Philippine-based health-tech startup that provides interpretation of radiology diagnostic images for hospitals and clinics, recently announced that it had closed a round of funding from strategic investors, including Globe Telecom-owned Kickstart Ventures.


Radiology readings are increasingly critical in medical diagnosis, especially in the detection of orthopedic and soft tissue conditions. Most hospitals and medical practitioners require data from procedures such as X-rays, CT scans, or MRI tests but there are too few experts in the field.

This shortage is nowhere more felt than in developing countries like the Philippines and Indonesia, where there is typically a 10- to 30-fold lack of radiologists per capita versus the developed countries, and where experienced radiologists make up 1% or so of the total practitioners.

Lifetrack addresses the shortage of radiology experts via their unique radiology software platform with a two-fold value proposition: increased efficiency in radiology reporting and more radiology knowledge workers trained.

Lifetrack?s platform complies with global Radiology Information Systems (RIS) and Picture Archiving and Communications System (PACS) standards used by all leading computer imaging providers like Siemens, Philips, General Electric and thereby, allows interoperability with existing systems and equipment of hospitals.

The company?s unique browser-based radiology software with onsite and cloud-based servers offers hospitals and clinics the ability to leverage their existing radiologists with their efficient approach to radiology reporting while also providing on-demand access to a pool of radiology experts, thereby helping improve patient care at an affordable cost.

The platform?s radiology software contains context-sensitive decision support which helps improve existing radiologist?s skill sets while also making the platform perfect for learning institutions? Continuing Medical Education courses and subspecialty training.

?Part of our advocacy is to reverse the brain drain, which we?ve seen far too long in the country?s healthcare industry. Through Lifetrack?s affordable software and professional services, we can bring in radiology studies from around the world to be read by Filipino radiologists based here. This, in turn, can lead to attracting high-income knowledge-based jobs from overseas to local radiologists. In fact, we have already brought in at least 50 medical jobs from abroad? said Eric Schulze, founder and chief executive officer of Lifetrack.

He further added, ?We do struggle in finding people with domain experience in radiology IT but since we engineered our software to meet the needs of our target market, we end up mentoring more people to develop those skills.?

The system is so unique that Duke NUS, a collaboration between Duke University and the National University of Singapore, is using it in partnership with Lifetrack to provide sub-specialty certification and training to radiologists throughout the region. Duke NUS Medical school is also using Lifetrack to train their medical students in interpreting pediatric chest X-rays.

Schulze expressed confidence that with the strong backing from Kickstart, Lifetrack will be much closer to achieving its goals.

?The people at Kickstart are wonderful mentors and can draw upon a wide range of experience and resources to help us find new clients, as well as build out our infrastructure and human resource needs. We are always looking for referrals for new hospitals and clinics — clients who want to experience 24/7 coverage and high-quality fast reporting turnaround time.?

Kickstart, in turn affirmed Lifetrack?s vision of improving healthcare services globally.

?The world?s healthcare systems have not scaled in step with the world?s demographic development. It doesn?t matter whether you are in a developed or emerging market: the sad truth is, there are not enough resources to offer the quality and speed of diagnosis and treatment that everyone needs,? said Kickstart president Minette Navarrete.

?Lifetrack can help improve healthcare systems globally, deploying a concentration of skilled diagnosticians and making them available to hospitals on-demand, reducing patient waiting time, hospital costs, and the risk of misdiagnosis.?

Lifetrack is based on the experience of building a successful US-based teleradiology company founded by Schulze in 2003, which he subsequently sold in 2011.

The undertaking gave Schulze valuable insights on how to do efficient radiology while being freed from the constraints present in existing legacy RIS/PACS systems.


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