Software designed to eliminate safety risks and billions of dollars in wasted costs
ST. LOUIS, Dec. 2, 2019 /PRNewswire/ — Nearly 8 million patients in the U.S. underwent brain MR scans last year. However, patient movement during the procedure has invalidated just under 20% of those scans, costing up to $4 billion in unnecessary costs while also posing potential safety risks.
NOUS Imaging, a St. Louis-based startup has created a software-based biofeedback solution, called Framewise Integrated Real-Time MRI Monitoring (FIRMM), for acquiring better brain MR exams. Already, its success has garnered $6.6 million in venture capital and government research investments, including funding from the Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) program at the National Institute of Mental Health, National Institutes of Health.
“The software aims to eliminate patient safety risks and save billions of dollars in wasted healthcare costs,” said Nico Dosenbach, MD, PhD, co-founder of NOUS Imaging and an Assistant Professor of neurology and radiology at Washington University School of Medicine.
Currently, obtaining sufficient brain MRs consists of two main options: repeat scanning or anesthesia. While repeat scanning can eventually allow for satisfactory scans, the process wastes time and money. Anesthesia is considered the acceptable option for patients who are likely to move. Most children fall in this category. While anesthesia addresses the motion problem, the procedure poses acute and long-term risks such as cognitive dysfunction and adds costs.
The original research version of FIRMM software has proven valuable as part of the Adolescent Brain Cognitive Development (ABCD) study, the largest, long-term study of brain development in the U.S. Nous Imaging’s commitment to excellence has also fostered heavy usage at over 55 academic brain imaging centers. “The need and demand for a simple solution to maximize image quality is clear,” said Damien Fair, PA-C, Ph.D., co-founder of NOUS Imaging and an Associate Professor of Behavioral Neuroscience at Oregon Health & Science University.
Initially FIRMM only worked with Siemens MR scanners. However, NOUS Imaging recently released an updated research version of FIRMM (v.3.2) that is compatible with GE MR machines. “We hope that with the addition of GE capability we can add to our existing number of FIRMM users,” said Todd Deckard, Director of Engineering. “This new software update coupled with the fact that we are the only camera-less motion monitoring technology provides the necessary foundation to grow our footprint in the industry.”
NOUS Imaging will gather feedback on the FIRMM software application at the Radiological Society of North America Annual Meeting in Chicago (Dec. 1-6) in the Startup Showcase in the South Hall, booth 2468-C5.