Feedback plc and Amazon Web Services boost TB screening in rural India – Business Weekly

Feedback plc in Cambridge and Amazon Web Services have joined forces to establish and deliver cloud-based TB screening services to rural communities in India.

Feedback has been awarded funding through the AWS Diagnostic Development Initiative to deliver a revolutionary imaging pathway that will enable X-rays of patients to be acquired in rural settings without networked connectivity and be transmitted over the Cambridge company’s Bleepa’s cloud-hosted infrastructure for reporting. 

This pathway will enable TB screening to be undertaken in the most remote settings, ensuring diagnostic input is rapidly available to screening services whilst the patient is still in the X-ray clinic. 

This rapid, point-of-care diagnostic service leverages the power of cloud to ensure that TB screening can be scaled to rural locations across India.

The AWS Diagnostics Development Initiative aims to help accelerate research and innovation to advance the collective understanding and detection of infectious diseases in order to mitigate current and future outbreaks. 

The unspecified funding is targeted at covering the initial cloud hosting costs of the TB screening service in the pilot stages, ahead of plans to scale the service across India following a successful pilot.

TB represents a large public health issue globally with India experiencing an estimated 2.6 million new cases every year.

A robust screening programme, delivered locally to citizens is essential in order to identify those affected and initiate treatment for the condition. Chest X-rays are a key screening investigation for TB but require interpretation by either a specialist clinician or suitably regulated AI technology, neither of which are available in most rural settings.

Feedback’s technology enables a chest X-ray image to be pushed over a mobile network to the cloud where it is shared by Bleepa either with a specialist clinician for reporting or a suitable AI tool. Results are then shared through Bleepa with the TB screening service, often within minutes of an image being acquired. 

Specialist TB clinicians can then advise on management, using Bleepa’s patient-specific chat feature to connect directly to TB screening personnel in order to initiate treatment whilst the patient is still in the vicinity. 

The image and any clinical reports or discussion will then be stored in a CareLocker – a cloud container that stores medical data at an individual patient level – for every patient.

This could enable the creation of citizen health records in line with the National Digital Health Mission record of the Indian government. The entire solution will be hosted on AWS cloud.

Dr Tom Oakley, CEO of Feedback, said: “We are delighted to have AWS as a partner in our TB screening programme. This funding support will enable us to establish and subsequently scale the TB screening solution to citizens in rural locations across India.

“It is a key public health priority and a challenge of enormous proportions. To have AWS support and backing will make all the difference in getting this out to the citizens who need it.”