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Blackford Partner ImageBiopsy Lab is committed to fundamentally changing the processes, efficiency, and quality in musculoskeletal (MSK) radiology with AI driven solutions. IB Lab is developing a novel, AI-supported modular MSK software platform for a standardized, objective and automated analysis of medical images.

The company’s KOALA solution supports detection of signs of knee osteoarthritis based on standard joint parameters and OARSI criteria of standing radiographs of the knee. We spoke to Richard Ljuhar, CEO of Image Biopsy Lab to find out a bit more about the company.

Blackford: What is your mission?

Richard Ljuhar: We are a team of engineers, physicians and most importantly scientists. Working side-by-side, we want to improve the accuracy and consequently the efficiency of the diagnostic process by using artificial intelligence technology. Our software offers simplification and standardization. Furthermore, we provide quantitative disease parameters to support treatment decisions of medical experts. Following this, ImageBiopsy Lab offers AI driven solutions for anatomical regions such as the knee, the hand and even the hip while constantly working on additional MSK solutions.

I co-founded ImageBiopsy Lab with the aim to use image recognition algorithms to address the challenges of radiologists and orthopedics. We initially started with computer vision tools, migrating to more flexible algorithms like deep learning.

Blackford: Tell us about KOALA.

Richard Ljuhar: Our KOALA software is fully PACS-agnostic and can be deployed within any operating environment. The device does not interact with the patient directly, thus only serves as a standby solution in the background and serves as a secondary opinion to the radiologist and/or orthopaedic specialist. By providing information that is already available upon reading the x-ray study, we aim to create an actual value to the physicians in their day-to-day environment without interrupting the workflow.

Blackford: How do you deliver clinical value to your customers?

Richard Ljuhar: It is our goal to positively impact the quality of care and patient satisfaction, all within the existing clinical environment. We at ImageBiopsy Lab strongly believe that AI has the power to increase consistency of radiographic readings and provide reliable output measures to patients. To quote a chairman of radiology: “You gave me the insight on the patient without having to change my routine. The information I require is already there and I can focus more on the patient myself.”

Our software offers clinicians a number of significant simplifications in the diagnosis of this common bone and joint disease: consistent diagnostic accuracy and objectivity enable standardized and detailed radiological follow-ups. This is particularly important for the early detection and monitoring of the disease, which often progresses for decades.

Blackford: What sets you apart from everyone else?

Richard Ljuhar: The application potential for our algorithms range from classical orthopaedics to clinical traumatology and the one thing they all have in common is the primary radiological reading. We are supplying detailed expert knowledge independent of the clinical setting. And we do this by providing a standby solution that works background and serves as a secondary opinion to the radiologist, orthopaedic specialist or general practitioner.

We are the leading provider for MSK algorithms, because we are able to bring a musculoskeletal problem from idea to full-fledged, certified product within 6 months. Most importantly we listen and work together closely with all stakeholders, which enables us to produce the required outputs within the clinical routine. In addition, our MSK platform will not only be able to work with 2D X-ray images, but also with 3D images.

None of this would be possible without a great team behind it. We have some of the smartest and brightest people giving their all to make these innovations happening. I am very grateful to have found such an amazing team of primarily scientists that have embraced the companies vision with their own individual expertise.

Blackford: Why partner with Blackford?

Richard Ljuhar: We have seen a similar drive and expertise with Blackford analysis. We highly appreciate the professionalism of the Blackford team and welcome the curated market place. We are both European companies and have soon realized that we share common goals, when it comes to improving diagnostic confidence and patient outcomes, but also when addressing the right markets.

Blackford: Tell us a fun fact about your company?

Richard Ljuhar: We have a very creative development team. There is a competition for coming up with the most innovative acronym for our solutions. All of our MSK algorithms live on the platform called the ZOO. So far we have KOALA, HIPPO, PANDA and LAMA.

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