Medical technologies save lives, improve health, and contribute towards sustainable healthcare. The most disruptive med-tech innovators deliver excellent services to patients, healthcare professionals, healthcare systems, and the society at large. These innovators also drive economic growth and job creation.
One such prominent torchbearer in the field of med-tech innovation is Aidence. Situated at Amsterdam, the Netherlands, the company has made major strides in the medical imaging industry with its AI solution.
The person spearheading the company is Mark-Jan Harte, the Co-Founder and CEO. After completing a master’s degree in Computer Science, he occupied various roles in finance, consumer software, and machine learning consultancy. Founding multiple companies in the technology sector, Mr. Mark developed a deep interest in AI and started seeing the opportunity that deep learning offered to healthcare in 2015.
There are many technology lessons that he had learned previously that can be applied to healthcare. The ability to combine that with the purpose of using AI for patient benefit is what drove Mr. Mark to establish Aidence.
In an interview with Insights Care, Mr. Mark shares the journey of Aidence, its various services, and future plans.
Below are the highlights of the interview between Mark and Insights Care.
Please brief our audience about your company, its values, vision, and mission.
I founded Aidence in November 2015 with Jeroen van Duffelen (CBO) and Tim Salimans. We are an international team of over 40+ purpose-driven data scientists, software engineers, business, medical and regulatory professionals, located in the Netherlands and the UK.
We believe that data is key to improve the prevention, management, and treatment of diseases. Our mission is to provide intelligent software that radically improves medical diagnostics and the oncology pathway.
As a company, we focus on quality first and foremost and have a rigorous approach to clinical safety. We have a transparent culture, encouraging all stakeholders to speak openly and share ideas. And although we are in a hyped industry, we are down to earth, deliver upon commitment, and never exaggerate our capabilities.
What makes your company a preferred choice over your competitors? Tell us more about your prominent solutions and products.
Our first clinical application is Veye Chest (renamed Veye Lung Nodules with the latest version), an AI-based solution for lung nodule management. It automates the detection, segmentation, characterization and growth assessment of pulmonary nodules, aiding radiologists in their review of chest CT-scans.
Veye Chest is currently running in routine practice and lung cancer screening programmes across Europe, analyzing thousands of patients scans each week.
In over five years of activity, we built a credible track record of deployments in clinical practice. From closing our first commercial contracts at the end of 2019, we now see hospitals extending their collaboration with us. Our customers trust us and recognize the problem we are solving for them.
In the UK, we are the preferred AI provider in a large-scale lung cancer screening pilot across England. We have also received an award to support the National Health Service (NHS) plans to reduce lung cancer mortality.
In countries like the Netherlands, Hungary, and France we have long-standing partnerships with hospitals and renowned medical centers.
Moreover, we are one of the first companies in our field to have been granted the CE Mark for our AI solution under the new EU Medical Device Regulation. This is a reflection of our solid risk management and post-market surveillance processes.
Being an experienced leader in the healthcare sector, share with us your opinion on how the adaptation of modern technology in the healthcare discipline has transformed the industry and what more could be expected in the near future?
The amount of medical data keeps growing, increasing the complexity of decision making for clinicians. AI is a powerful technology because it can ‘learn’ to identify patterns and nuances in large datasets and consistently provide precise observations and measurements.
In healthcare, there is a huge opportunity to apply this power for the benefit of all. AI devices can automate the basic and tedious tasks that clinicians perform daily. This allows them to focus on complex interpretation tasks and make more data-driven and accurate follow-up decisions.
Taking into consideration the current pandemic, and its impact on global economies, how are you driving your organization to sustain operations and ensure safety of your employees at the same time?
For the past year, I witnessed the strength, motivation, and flexibility of our purpose-driven team. We have sustained operations by working remotely throughout the pandemic. We also stayed connected through regular updates and virtual team ‘rituals’, such as group lunches and celebrations of milestones. I believe we are coming out stronger from the pandemic.
How do you plan to scale your company and/or its operations in 2021?
Aidence has raised €12.5 million to date with top tier VC funds backing. Based on our current outlook, we expect a successful series B by the end of 2021.
With new grants and investments, we will further improve Veye Chest and deploy it across Europe and soon the US (once we obtain the FDA clearance). In the short term, we will expand our suite of clinical applications with models for COVID-19 and coronary artery calcification.
Our focus is increasingly on different stages of the oncology pathway, including treatment response assessment. We thus plan to build functionalities beyond medical imaging.
Dr James Shambroock, Consultant Cardiothoracic Radiologist at University Hospital Southampton, on the value we add to lung cancer screening in the UK: “Scale and precision are of utmost importance for making the Lung Health Check programme a success, and we see Aidence as a valuable partner for the years to come.”
Dr Paul Algra at Northwest Clinics in the Netherlands on using Veye Chest: “Veye allows us to read scans at a high pace with the confidence of not missing anything.”