GE HealthCare took a major step towards expanding its ultrasound systems to new users and settings, acquiring AI guidance startup Caption Health.
GE plans to integrate Caption’s AI guidance technology into its ultrasound platform, starting with POCUS devices and echocardiography exams. GE specifically emphasized how its Caption integration will help streamline echo adoption among novice operators and bring heart failure exams into “doctors’ offices, the home, and alternate sites of care.”
- That’s particularly notable given healthcare’s major shift outside of hospital walls, especially considering that Caption has already developed a unique home echo exam and virtual diagnosis service.
- It’s also another sign that GE sees big potential for at-home ultrasound, coming less than a year after investing in home maternity ultrasound startup Pulsenmore.
GE didn’t disclose the tuck-in acquisition’s value. However, Caption is relatively large for an AI startup (79 employees on LinkedIn, >$62M raised) and is arguably the most established company in the ultrasound guidance segment (FDA & CE approved, CMS-reimbursed, notable alliances).
- The fact that GE HealthCare has already made two acquisitions since spinning off in early January (after a 16 month pause) also suggests that the newly-independent medtech giant has returned to M&A mode.
Of course, the acquisition is another sign that the imaging AI consolidation trend remains in full swing, marking at least the ninth AI startup acquisition since January 2022 and the third so far in 2023.
- One contributor to that AI consolidation surge appears to be ultrasound hardware vendors acquiring AI guidance companies, noting that GE’s Caption acquisition comes about six months after Exo’s acquisition of Medo AI.
Ultrasound’s potential expansion to new users and clinical settings could create the kind of growth that most modalities only experience once in their lifetime (or never experience), and ease of use might dictate how far ultrasound is able to expand. That could make this acquisition particularly significant for GE HealthCare and for ultrasound’s path towards far broader adoption.