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Health experts are still learning how the coronavirus attacks the human body. What they do know is that COVID-19 is a serious infectious disease that hits multiple organs, most commonly the lungs — which are called “ground zero” of the disease. From there, the virus can spread to a patient’s heart, kidneys, and brain.

In areas of the world where there is a lack of adequate access to testing, imaging techniques — such as a chest X-ray — can help in diagnosing the disease.

Lifetrack Medical Systems, a health-tech startup that replaces legacy software and allows radiologists to remotely view and medical diagnoses, partnered with Antique’s local government and offered its technology for free to hospitals and clinics serving as COVID-19 triaging and referral centers.

Carl Nicholas Ng, COO of Lifetrack, explains to BusinessWorld reporter Charmaine Tadalan how this service is vital in the Philippines, where there are only about 1,000 radiologists in a country of more than a hundred million people.


Access to diagnostic imaging must be improved.

According to the Pan American Health Organization/World Health Organization, between 70% and 80% of diagnostic problems can be resolved through the basic use of X-rays and/or ultrasound examinations. Two-thirds of the world’s population has no access to diagnostic imaging — meaning about five billion people can’t even get a simple X-ray. Access is limited not just by the cost of equipment, but by the lack of radiologists.

A service like Lifetrack, which allows radiologists to interpret images remotely, can alleviate this problem.

Medical imaging accelerates the detection of potential COVID-19 cases.

Aside from offering its technology for free to hospitals in Antique and Leyte, Lifetrack also launched a secure anonymized global COVID-19 image repository that can be used by radiologists and researchers to more quickly identify potential COVID-19 cases. The startup is part of the International Consortium for COVID-19 Imaging AI (ICOVAI).

Recorded remotely on April 29. Produced by Nina M. Diaz, Paolo L. Lopez, and Sam L. Marcelo.

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