GE HealthCare has signed a contract worth $44m with the Biomedical Advanced Research and Development Authority (BARDA) to develop artificial intelligence (AI)-enabled ultrasound technology.

In a 12 October press release, the healthcare giant added that the deal with BARDA – a department within the US Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) – would help bring point-of-care technology to aid healthcare professionals in diagnosing traumatic injuries and lung pathologies.

GE HealthCare has been tasked with building a new ultrasound device with novel AI technology. The installed AI software should make interpretation of exams easier, meaning more users in a healthcare setting can use the device.

The soon-to-be-developed devices will cover head trauma, lung trauma blunt and penetrating trauma, in addition to lung pathologies seen in infectious diseases.

Ultrasounds are critical in the treatment of trauma patients, who often have injuries that are not apparent during an initial exam.

A 2021 US market model on ultrasound systems by GlobalData lists GE HealthCare as a market leader – owning a 15.6% share of the market. The model estimated the market was worth $758bn.

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GE HealthCare also received $44m from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation to further the company’s AI-assisted ultrasound imaging tools.

This week, it launched its Venue Family point-of-care ultrasound system with Caption Guidance software.

GE HealthCare’s president and CEO of ultrasound Roland Rott said: “Point-of-care ultrasound is an essential tool in emergency situations to help clinicians quickly get the answers they need when treating patients.

“We are grateful and excited for the opportunity to partner with BARDA to contribute our expertise in ultrasound and AI applications to develop innovative solutions for identifying a range of traumatic injuries and lung pathologies.”