For expectant moms, the prenatal ultrasound is a rite of passage. During the first trimester, it’s the ultrasound tech who first identifies a heartbeat and prints out the inscrutable scans to be shared far and wide as proof of what is to come.
In the second trimester, things get even more real with the highly anticipated 20-week ultrasound. This scan paints a fuller picture of the baby’s health and overall status. This is also when healthcare providers are able to detect the vast majority (about 90%) of fetal abnormalities.
So far so good. The problem is that there is a critical shortage of the Obstetric and Gynecological physicians (OB/GYNs) needed to interpret these 2nd-trimester scans. The American Congress of Obstetricians and Gynecologists puts the shortage at roughly 9000 OB/GYNs in the United States. More than half of the counties in the United States don’t have a single Obstetrician. In many countries around the globe, it’s much, much worse. That means that expectant mothers in these regions have to either drive hours away for care or work with a local ultrasound tech and arrange a long-distance consult. These kinds of arrangements are often still conducted with photocopies and fax machines. The result is wasted time, money, and sometimes critical errors of judgment.
“I remember this like it was yesterday,” says Khan, flashing a wide grin. “Robhy was this 17-year-old kid fresh off the plane from Abu Dhabi. We sat down next to each other and started talking. We’ve been best friends ever since.”
Robhy Bustami was sitting in a common room at a community college in Oakland, California when Salman Khan sidled up, looking every bit the West Coast native in short shorts and a “Save the Rainforests” t-shirt. Bustami had just moved to San Francisco from the United Arab Emirates and knew no one, so he showed up at an event sponsored by the school’s Muslim Students Association.
Bustami’s studies took him through computer science into computer vision where he focused on object detection and augmented reality. After graduating he worked at IBM Watson. Khan dreamed of becoming a lawyer or politician, but then post-grad jobs at Oracle and Kaiser changed his mind and set him on the road towards tech and business. It wasn’t long before both men were bitten by the bug of the nearby Silicon Valley startup scene.
“We really wanted to tackle major issues that were personal to all of us”
That’s when something important happened: they realized they were both carrying around a similar story about our broken healthcare system. Stories about anxious parents, misdiagnosis, and fatal consequences for children.
Salman Khan was born in Karachi, Pakistan, and as early as he can remember, he was told how his elder sister had died because of a misdiagnosis at the age of one. Bustami was a grown-up when he watched a misdiagnosis play out with his childhood best friend who was expecting a baby. When the friend and his wife went in for initial ultrasound scans, the ultrasound tech incorrectly informed the parents that their unborn child had serious health defects — abnormalities of the heart and brain. Later, the obstetrician found that the tech was wrong and that the baby was fine. But emotionally, a lot of damage had been done. The stress on the mother led to increased high blood pressure which in turn led to further complications and premature birth.
These might have remained mere stories, related tales of medical misdiagnosis, had Bustami and Khan not met Dr. Hisham Elgammal, a professor of Maternal Fetal Medicine. Teaming up with his brother, Hamdy Elgammal, a data & machine learning engineer, Dr. Elgammal had done extensive research into AI-powered fetal diagnosis and published an award-winning paper on the topic. The Elgammal brothers opened up for Bustami and Khan the specific challenge of using technology to improve fetal ultrasound and through their machine learning research saw their vision for impact come into focus.
WHO WE ARE
Meet The Team
Over 100 years of combined experience in AI, healthcare, software, and product development
Over eight years of experience in Data Engineering, Software Development, Product Development, and Enterprise Tech Consulting for Cloud & AI. Robhy has lead the effort in building Flagship Products and promoting their adoption at the world's largest companies.
Chief Executive Officer
A Doctor in Obstetrics & Gynecology, Director of Fetal Medicine at Alexandria University, and affiliate of the International Society of Ultrasound in Obstetrics and Gynecology. Dr. Hisham Elgammal is a lead researcher in the field of OB/GYN with multiple publications and awards.
Hisham Elgammal MD, PhD
Chief Medical Officer
Salman is a UC Berkeley graduate with over 10 years of proven business development, sales, and management experience in both cloud and healthcare. Having worked at tech and healthcare giants, Oracle & Kaiser Permanente, Salman has a strong history of delivering digital healthcare solutions to clients.
Chief Operating Officer
With over eight years of experience in Machine Learning, Data Engineering, & Software Design/Development, Chaskin posts an impressive history of delivering highly accurate ML models in software that have significantly improved value for end-users.
Chief Technology Officer
Design and Development