Edmonton, Alberta - July 14th, 2021
- What is the problem that Medo is solving?
Medical imaging is crucial for accurate diagnosis and treatment of many medical conditions, yet nearly two-thirds of the world’s population doesn’t have access to the most basic radiology services. This disparity is most often observed in developing countries, but as Medo’s founders realized, accessibility isn’t great in developed countries either.
In countries like Canada or the United States, some patients have to wait weeks for a simple ultrasound scan. Others drive for hours or have to be flown in by helicopter to medical centers for the procedure. Not to mention other countries, where modes of transportation like these aren’t even an option.
With ultrasound being such a portable tool, there’s an opportunity to change this. To provide access to medical imaging regardless of where you are. But to do so would require not only these devices - but expertise to use them. This expertise simply doesn’t exist, so needs to be augmented. This is where Medo comes in.
At Medo, our mission is to make ultrasound accessible to everyone by augmenting current ultrasound technology. The first product, which now has FDA clearance and is being piloted in four countries, was built around hip dysplasia - a hip joint abnormality that causes premature osteoarthritis if it isn’t caught early.
- What is DDH?
- Developmental dysplasia of the hip is a condition where the “ball and socket” joint of the hip does not properly form in babies and young children. It is also called hip dysplasia.
- In a healthy hip, where the hip joint attaches the thigh bone (femur) to the pelvis, the top of the femur (femoral head) is rounded like a ball, and sits inside the cup-shaped hip socket.
- With DDH, the socket of the hip is too shallow, causing the femoral head to not be held tightly in place. And ultimately, resulting in a loose hip joint. In more severe cases, the femur can come out of the socket
- According to the UK National Health Service, DDH can affect both hips, but oftentimes, it appears in the left hip. It’s also more common in girls and firstborn children. 
- About 1 in every 100 babies have DDH that needs to be treated . Without early diagnosis or treatment, DDH can lead to future problems. Including problems moving around, limping, chronic pain, osteoarthritis of the hip and back, and surgery . Early diagnosis means that children will be less likely to need surgery, and more likely to develop normally. If caught early, DDH can be resolved by wearing a simple Pavlik harness for a few weeks, as opposed to surgery or life-time disability.
- How is diagnosis currently done?
Most newborns receive a physical examination between the first few hours of their birth, or within a few weeks. During this time, the physical exam to check for DDH is done, which involves gently moving the baby’s hip joints to check if there are any problems. If a doctor, midwife, or nurse thinks their hip feels unstable or notices any risk factors, then the baby gets referred to ultrasound. The problem is that we miss many before they are getting referred to ultrasound.
- How does Medo help diagnose DDH?
Imagine if you could simply swipe a flashlight alongside an infant’s hip in various directions, and know immediately if they have DDH or not. Imagine, if every infant had access to this technology.
Medo’s technology transforms a series of scans taken from different angles to form a complete 3D understanding of the hip. Using machine learning algorithms, the data is then compared against the world’s largest hip database, containing millions of other scans to produce a recommended diagnosis in real-time. The software is device agnostic and is developed for both web and mobile use to ensure accessibility — all you need is an ultrasound tool and an Internet connection.
- How can I get involved?
We envision a world where ultrasound is accessible for everyone, and where every infant can be scanned for DDH. With two FDA clearances (Medo-Thyroid and Medo-Hip), and licensing from Health Canada in the works, we are constantly looking to improve and refine our technology.
We are currently looking to engage in partnerships with Canadian and American Radiology Clinics and Centers of Health. If your organization’s goal is to bring a higher standard of care to your patient’s journey from a young age, please contact firstname.lastname@example.org.