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A suite of software applications hosted in the cloud for medical ultrasound diagnostics

Periodic Reporting for period 1 - Quipu Cloud (A suite of software applications hosted in the cloud for medical ultrasound diagnostics)

Reporting period: 2017-08-01 to 2017-12-31

Medical Ultrasound today is considered as a mainstream technology in the medical sector. It is largely associated with pre-natal care to access the health of a baby in its mother’s womb but that is only a small percentage of its overall usage. Apart from Obstetrics, Medical Ultrasound is used in Cardiology, Neurology, Ophthalmology and many more clinical fields. Traditionally, ultrasound scanners where totally combined units including the ultrasound hardware, software and user interface in one unit. Quipu is changing this model by separating the software from the hardware.
Quipu introduces the concept of an app-store for ultrasound scanners. Through our system hospitals can make use of lower to mid-range scanners to get the diagnostic functionality of high end scanners.

During the last 3 years we have developed a Suite of ultrasound diagnostic applications focused in the Cardiology segment of ultrasound diagnostics. Currently the software is installed on a laptop or computer and the ultrasound scanner is connected directly to the computer or laptop. The user simply launches our suite of applications, selects the diagnostic application required, starts the scan and the software will automatically provide the metrics of the analysis and store the scans and results for later use. We have successfully sold our software to clients in Europe, USA and Africa.

During this last year we have been working on improving integration and interoperability across a wide range of ultrasound scanners through a cloud based infrastructure. We have developed a TRL 6 prototype of Quipu Cloud based on a set of cloud services and special hardware that works with a wide range of ultrasound scanners. Quipu Cloud improves integration and makes it easier to share resources and data with peers. Through this PH1 we would like to study further the feasibility behind this concept and develop a business plan around this kind of service we will be offering to our clients.

Our overall goal is to be the leaders in the market and the first to commercialise the novel concept of cloud based ultrasound diagnostic software. Launching Quipu Cloud is aligned with the overall strategy of our organisation and we foresee growth for our company with the success of this new product. We are fully committed and aware of the work that we have to undertake and will put in place a systematic approach to give priority to carry out with full commitment the tasks of this project.
- We have already carried a preliminary study to determine the freedom to operate in the market, and this has yielded positive results, supported by an official freedom to operate analysis which was carried out during the phase 1. - We have already started the necessary steps towards patenting the Quipu Cloud process and to ensure that we remain the leaders in providing such a disruptive solution in the market. We will also seek to trademark the 'Quipu Cloud' name and register our logo to ensure that it can be recognised as unique.
- We have clearly specified the technological scope of our project, and outlined the specifications of the applications and their features, making up Quipu Cloud. In addition, we have undertaken a cost benefit analysis of the proposed system, set up a workplan with well defined tasks and milestones and analysed the possible risks that we may encounter and potential alternatives to mitigate them. We also measured the feasibility of our project on a large scale and analysed the complexity of the industry and the market.
- We have developed a business model to target each of our market segments and evaluated the future services and pricing strategies to offer through QUipu. In the first year, we will focus on targeting small and average sized hospitals and clinics with the aim to obtain market share. In the future we do not exclude the possibility to partner with specialised ultrasound manufacturers to provide a tailored and packaged solution to the market.
- We studied the competition and drew up a commercialisation plan including identification of key partners/stakeholders and positioning in the competition landscape. We also carried out an internal audit to evaluate the required skills and resources to successfully commercialise Quipu.
- As part of the work we have also carried out a financial assessment, forecasted sales volume and break even point as well as estimated operating costs, including personnel, equipment and materials. FInally we prepared a business profit forecast for a 5 year period.
- Following the feasibility assessment, where product, market, industry, financial and legal aspects have been analysed, we elaborated a business plan with a feasibility road map as a basis for the preparation of a phase 2 proposal.
With Quipu Cloud the innovation lies in the concept of ‘sharing’, that in turn reduces the total cost of ownership. We believe that we should not limit the potential of the hardware by creating ‘closed’ systems, but instead we provide a ‘suite’ of products (software) to service different medical fields and a flexible licensing mechanisms for the benefit of our clients. With our concept, the investment a hospital or clinic makes is not a static investment of purchasing an ultrasound device with integrated functions and image processing capabilities. The beauty of Quipu is that a ‘basic’ portable ultrasound scanner can outperform a fully equipped ultrasound device by accessing the Quipu software suite from the cloud. Furthermore, as we develop and add more tools and products to our software suite, the hospital can benefit from state-of-the-art image processing technologies and data metrics that we provide.
This approach to ultrasound will give Quipu the following added benefits:
Assured interoperability with various ultrasound scanners.
Assured quality of results with qualifying/tested scanners.
More flexibility for the user. Access to the cloud from any web enabled device.
Simplified licence management across the different products in our suite of software.
Quipu will allow clinics and hospitals to provide access to ultrasound diagnostics more medical practitioners which, due to restricted budgets, would be unable to gain access to such an indispensable tool. Quipu will also help in tackling major challenges on a global level in developing countries where healthcare budgets are already stretched to their limit.