In undetermined and unsettled times, one must be open to spontaneous changes. If one can utilize these challenges to climb uphill and reach the next level, one can bring a disruptive change with an innovative and open-minded approach.
Having such a solution-oriented approach in the healthcare niche and bringing about highly accurate MRI interpretation software to the physicians describes Bot Image. Its software interprets multi-parametric and bi-parametric MRI using random forest with instance weighting and MR segmentation by deep learning with holistically nested networks.
Having a zeal to bring about a positive change and save lives is Bot Image, Inc’s CEO and Founder, Dr. Randall W. Jones. He harnesses the power of blending AI with other diagnostic mediums in order to bring a substantial improvement in clinical outcomes. His dedicated effort and focused engagement have brought about a disruptive change in the healthcare niche.
Dive into their exhilarating story to know more about Bot Image, Inc., and Dr Randall’s journey so far in the healthcare sector.
The Inception Tale
Dr. Randall W. Jones (PhD, MBA) formed Bot Image LLC in late 2018 after competing for and winning a competition to license unique Artificial Intelligence (AI) software for interpreting Prostate MRI, recently developed and published by the National Institutes of Health. This wasn’t the first company Dr. Jones formed that involved Prostate MRI. He founded Resonance Innovations which later became ScanMed LLC in 2015, whose main product became, and still is, a dedicated prostate/pelvic wearable MRI antenna.
The purpose of this device is to significantly improve the diagnostic resolution of the MR images with the end goal of enhancing radiologists’ diagnostic accuracy, or “reader performance,” as it is called. However, as Jones travelled about the US and Europe demonstrating this new antenna or “coil,” he learned that very few radiologists were highly experienced at interpreting prostate MRI and detecting cancer. In fact, their statistical accuracy presented in peer-reviewed literature was quite shockingly low.
That brings Jones to a full circle as he was contemplating starting an AI company to address this concerning issue of poor radiological accuracy when he was invited to compete for the commercialization and marketing of the NIH invention. “Wonderful timing,” he thought, as “this could save me a year or two of development time at least.” After winning the license, Jones then turned to contacts he had made while touring with his prostate antenna and found willing contributors of prostate MRI data for the further development of the software.
With additional data and seed monies in hand, Dr. Jones changed the organization to Bot Image, Inc., co-founding it with Dr. John F. Feller, MD, and their associated companies, ScanMed LLC (Omaha, NE) and Desert Medical Imaging, Inc. (Now part of Halo Dx, Indian Wells, CA). The journey of Bot Image, Inc. became yet another new chapter in Jones’ life.
Twirling Around Improving Healthcare
Bot Image’s core values are Dr. Jones ‘core values. They are there to improve healthcare outcomes while making a good honest living practicing it. Jones asserts, “It is truly an emotionally rewarding experience witnessing one’s invention bring about positive change in a fellow human’s life and occasionally saving that life.” Bot Image’s mission is to blend artificial intelligence (AI) with other diagnostic mediums and bring about substantial improvements in clinical outcomes that matter most: Improved Cancer Screening, Detection, Classification, and Grading using non-invasive imaging technologies such as MRI and CT.
Integrating AI into Healthcare
Bot Image’s services today are AI-assisted interpretation of Prostate MRI delivered via SaaS using secure and HIPPA compliant VPN communication and/or software installed behind the medical facilities firewall on their secure server. Many software providers facilitate radiological workflow by automatically organizing and displaying various series of patient studies. However, they are not detecting and classifying cancerous lesions such as are Bot Images’s products, ProstatIDTM and QT Prostate MRITM. The former is for real-time concurrent MRI interpretation by a licensed physician. Similarly, the latter is a Quality and Training algorithm to assist radiologists in reviewing cases and educating themselves with the aid of the AI output.
Bot Images’ Prostate Cancer detection and training products are available today; however, its algorithm is fully adaptable to train for the detection of other cancers such as liver, brain, and pancreatic cancer. Its sites are set on these to become its next products. In addition to this, Dr. Jones states, “our goal is not merely to detect and diagnose, but also to differentiate killer cancers from those less virulent–the true holy grail of non-invasive diagnostics.”
Advocating Evolution and Furtherance
When Jones was asked his opinion on aligning newer technological developments with their offerings, he stated, “statements like above really get the conversation started with healthcare professionals, especially those specialists that are always advancing and promoting new ways of thinking and problem-solving.”
He further talks about the setbacks in the healthcare niche, wherein it is unfortunate that the healthcare industry, in general, is extremely stodgy and slow to adopt new ideas, technologies, and methods. He has lived this for the last 29 years fighting the system, pushing against resistance to change, and persistently demonstrating better methods or improved devices. With changing times, more frequently now, one finds those believers or early adopters, and significant breakthroughs can happen.
Enlightening Budding Entrepreneurs
Jones’ advice to the budding entrepreneurs who wish to venture into the medical imaging niche is to deep dive into understanding all of the obstacles because the problem solution is just one of many.
Jones further states, “Seriously, there are significant obstacles or barriers to entry if you plan on starting your own business, but great inventions/ideas backed by adequate funding can overcome those obstacles! It isn’t for the faint of heart, and you’d better be ready to put up your own assets (house, land, and car) as collateral if you seek loans to do it.”
He also recommends having some real experiences working in the medical imaging industry and seeing the product creation process and the hurdles of regulatory approval and distribution challenges, which are very important. He asserts, “this theme is one of the primary reasons for writing my book, so I would encourage one to get a copy when it is formally announced by Forbes Books in August.”
Upscaling Bot Image
While talking about scaling Bot Image, Jones states, “it is currently expanding its marketing and will soon initiate a robust PR campaign to inform and educate the medical community of its first products and those works-in-progress.” Additionally, the company is expanding its business relationships with those who wish to collaborate and integrate its technologies into their platforms, either through strategic partnerships, alliances, or simple contracts.
Bot Image already has a number of high-profile academic supporters who have tried the software and are planning to submit several scientific articles resulting from ProstatID’s clinical studies to peer-reviewed journals. The first was recently presented at the annual ISMRM meeting in London, and three others are to follow this year.
The company has conducted two successful clinical studies on ProstatID and has recently positively concluded discussions with the FDA on the latest study and its claims; therefore, it expects approval in Q3 of this year. This will literally open doors to many new clients who have been waiting for this formal approval as well as to the investment community who have also expressed keen interest.
Both will support the addition of more highly skilled coders, software writers, managers, physician advisors, data collection, creation of additional disease detecting software, more clinical studies, and more product diversity. Dr. Jones believes, “2022 will be the beginning of a very sharp ramp-up in growth overall as the foundations are all laid, and products are ready for distribution. We are projecting exponential growth over the next five years as we bring these additional products online.”
“The problem with most translational science is that you seldom get good feedback between the scientist and the end-user. By being relentless, actively working on both ends of the process without the middlemen, and learning from failures, he has achieved what no one else can. Physicians are trained to understand a complex system and work within it. Randy [Dr. Jones] reimagines the system itself. The Elon Musk of modern MRI development.” An early user of ProstatID – Dr. Benjamin B. McDaniel
“It’s rare to meet such a driven and talented inventor and entrepreneur like Randy Jones. I’ve had the great pleasure of working with him in my role as CMO of BOT Image. His ability to balance the competing demands of scientific development and running a successful business is unlike any I have seen before. And to top it off, he is as engaging as any of the visionaries in Silicon Valley – a true renaissance man! I have zero doubt that everyone will enjoy and benefit from this book.” Another early user of ProstatID and also CMO of Bot Image, Inc. – Dr. Patrick D. Browning