Blackford Partner Aidence believes that data is key to improve the prevention, management, and treatment of diseases. Based in the Netherlands and the UK, Aidence brings together more than 40 data scientists, medical and regulatory professionals, and software engineers to provide intelligent software for the oncology pathway.

Now available on Blackford Platform, Aidence’s first medical solution is Veye Lung Nodules, an AI-based assistant for pulmonary nodule management on chest CTs. Veye Lung Nodules is currently running in routine practice and lung cancer screening programs across Europe, analyzing thousands of patients scans each week.

We spoke to Mark-Jan Harte, CEO and co-founder of Aidence to find out a bit more about the company.

Blackford: Tell us about Aidence.

Mark-Jan Harte: I founded Aidence in November 2015 with Jeroen van Duffelen (CBO) and Tim Salimans. We are an international team of over 40+ purpose-driven data scientists, software engineers, business, medical and regulatory professionals, located in the Netherlands and the UK.

Blackford: Tell us about your product.

Mark-Jan Harte: Our first clinical application is Veye Lung Nodules, an AI-based solution for pulmonary nodule management. It automates the detection, segmentation, characterization and growth assessment of pulmonary nodules, aiding radiologists in their review of chest CT-scans. We further built Veye Reporting to standardize reporting and enable both effective and sustainable lung cancer screening.

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

Mark-Jan Harte: Lung cancer is difficult to detect at an early stage and has a high mortality rate, both in men and women. It is mostly detected in the advanced stages, due to late onset of symptoms. Lung cancer screening programs are also starting in Europe, as they have been proven to be life-saving; but they also generate a significant volume of extra work for the radiologist. Radiologists are under a lot of pressure when it comes to workload, and will continue to be in the next coming years due to the increasing amount of scans to report.

Veye Lung Nodules supports the improvement of patient outcomes by delivering fast results, lowering the risk of misdiagnosis, and by detecting and segmenting possible early-stage lung cancer.

Blackford: What sets you apart from everyone else?

Mark-Jan Harte: As a company, we focus on quality first and foremost and have a rigorous approach to clinical safety. We have a transparent culture, encouraging all stakeholders to speak openly and share ideas. And although we are in a hyped industry, we are down to earth, deliver upon commitment, and never exaggerate our capabilities.

In over five years of activity, we built a credible track record of deployments in clinical practice. From closing our first commercial contracts at the end of 2019, we now see hospitals extending their collaboration with us. Our customers trust us and recognize the problem we are solving for them.

In the UK, we are the preferred AI provider in a large-scale lung cancer screening pilot across England. In countries like the Netherlands, Hungary, and France we have long-standing partnerships with hospitals and renowned medical centers.

Furthermore, we are one of the first companies in our field to have been granted the CE Mark for our AI solution under the new EU Medical Device Regulation. This is a reflection of our solid risk management and post-market surveillance processes.

Blackford: Why partner with Blackford?

Mark-Jan Harte: Blackford offers us a proven platform which provides healthcare professionals immediate access to top-notch AI solutions that add clinical value. This, together with their partner network and their relentless focus on workflow integration, makes
Blackford an ideal partner for Aidence.

Blackford: Tell us a fun fact about your company.

Mark-Jan Harte: The name ‘Aidence’ reflects our mission to aid healthcare with data science solutions. ‘Veye’ is the extra part of virtual eyes in the search for subtle abnormalities on medical images.
Our logo is a playful wink to a well-known optical illusion (see below). While humans will be fooled and see a white dot surrounded by gray ones, a computer vision algorithm is capable of seeing all white dots at once.