The journey of Digital Diagnostics (formerly IDx) has been one full of exciting innovation, trailblazing firsts, and an unwavering commitment to quality, equity, and ethics. Since the beginning, the Corridor Business Journal (CBJ) has been following the story and sharing the journey with their readers. Staring in 2017, when IDx-DR was still awaiting Food and Drug Administration (FDA) clearance for marketing the product for commercial use, CBJ highlighted a collaboration between [Digital Diagnostics] and IBM Watson in their article IDx joins IBM Watson Health collaborative.
“Over the past decades, productivity in health care has not kept pace with other sectors. Patients and providers worldwide are paying the price. Our mission at IDx (now Digital Diagnostics) has always been to transform the quality, accessibility, and affordability of global health care through the automation of medical diagnosis”, stated Dr. Michael Abramoff, founder at IDx and The Robert C. Watzke Professor of Ophthalmology and Visual Sciences at the Roy C. and Lucille A. Carver College of Medicine.”
Almost exactly one year later Digital Diagnostics (as IDx) was once again featured in the Corridor Business Journal to share the exciting news that IDx-DR had been granted “breakthrough device” designation by the FDA. This meant the potential for an expedited review of the product’s safety and efficacy, and eventually De Novo clearance for commercial marketing, was on track. They heralded this progress in Iowa City’s IDx finally in the fast lane.
“We’re excited and we think the FDA’s excited,” Dr. Abramoff said. “Hopefully, the FDA being excited means they like what they see. We have no way of knowing how long it’s going to take. There’s a lot riding on this. People are excited about putting AI in health care, but nobody has done it – at least where it matters.”
A few months later IDx-DR had been granted the first ever De Novo FDA clearance for an autonomous AI in any field of medicine. The first IDx-DR system was implemented at the University of Iowa Hospitals and Clinics (UIHC) to start testing patients in the real world. With the historic authorization, funds were raised and expansion into more markets and installation at more customers was quickly becoming a reality as described in IDx Secured $33M in funding as AI heats up.
“I think it shows a lot of confidence in what we’re doing here in Iowa, which is very exciting,” said founder Dr. Michael Abràmoff, adding that the flood of venture capital money was a credit to the company’s strong team, close ties with the University and the Corridor’s robust biotech ecosystem. “
Digital Diagnostics once again made news in the corridor with the announcement of a successful rebranding, as well as the exciting acquisition of Boston–based 3Derm systems in 2020. Acquiring 3Derm has allowed for the expansion of autonomous AI beyond just eye care and into dermatology. It also brings the ability for Digital Diagnostics to expand the capabilities of autonomous diagnosis to a platform solution as expanded on in IDx rebrands to lead AI health care revolution.
“We’re creating integrated solutions for customers; a transparent and seamless platform,” Dr. Abramoff said, adding Digital Diagnostics will continue developing plug-and-play-style AI diagnostic tools for providers. He likened the concept to downloading apps on a mobile phone: “You can just add it on, and you’re done.”
Most recently, Digital Diagnostics was highlighted for the successful $75 million Series B funding round that allows for an expanded product roadmap and substantial team growth. The injection of new funds will also facilitate efforts to continue the full integration of artificial intelligence into healthcare. Details on the fundraise and the company’s plans for the future were expounded on in Digital Diagnostics raises $75 million in Series B funding round.
“Our Series B fundraise, supported by our accelerating commercial traction, is another validation point that autonomous AI in health care is now mainstream,” said John Bertrand, co-founder and CEO of Digital Diagnostics, in a statement. “We are focused on innovating the way providers manage patient care by creating technology rooted in equity and widespread access, while positively impacting patient outcomes through our AI solutions.”
The vision of Digital Diagnostics continues to expand, but the mission remains the same: