Essential Tech Center
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GlobalDiagnostiX

All-in-one system for universal access to radiology

“For me photography was the means to the end, but [X-rays] made it the most important thing.” – Wilhelm Röntgen, who discovered X-rays in 1895

According to the WHO, 2/3 people in the world do not have access to medical X-ray imaging technology. This means that people die from complications that could have been prevented with radiological tests to guide treatment. To help address this, we developed an all-in-one X-ray imaging system capable of bringing radiology technology to virtually any context.

The challenge: Imaging technology is unavailable or fails in low-income contexts

In low- and middle-income countries (LMICs) in Africa and elsewhere, lack of access to medical X-rays and other imaging tools can be attributed to a mismatch between existing technologies and the local context:

  • Lack of financial resources:

    o Radiology equipment is costly

    o Upkeep represents a high cost of ownership

    o Consumables (such as X-ray film) are needed to use equipment

  • Lack of quality infrastructure:

    o Poor supply chain makes it difficult to access consumables and spare parts

    o Poor power supply has a particularly high impact: up to 1/3 of equipment failures result from power surges, and low supply or outages may make it simply impossible to run equipment at all

  • Lack of trained personnel:

    o Trained personnel, such as medical radiology technologists, are needed to properly operate highly sophisticated and complex equipment

    o A severe shortage of radiologists in low-income and rural settings impacts the ability to read results

    o Trained personnel are also needed to maintain and repair equipment

  • Harsh climate:

    o X-ray equipment that is built for high-income contexts does not withstand heat, humidity and dust often present in LMICs
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A young man undergoes an X-ray scan.
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There are enough trained personnel.
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Equipment suffers in harsh conditions.
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X-ray films drying outside a clinic. Consumables like these are often difficult to access and manage.

Our Adapted Solution: A robust, all-in-one digital X-ray imaging system

Through the GlobalDiagnostiX project, we worked in partnership with local actors to develop a digital, ultra-robust, and affordable medical X-ray system adapted to the needs and constraints of low- and middle-income countries. The solution:

  • Is extremely robust to withstand heat, humidity and dusty environments 
  • Uses less power than traditional systems and manages power outages and strong fluctuations
  • Is designed as all-in-one system to be easy and safe to operate even with minimal training
  • Requires minimum maintenance and – as it is fully digital – no consumables
  • Enables teleradiology for centralized expert diagnostic interpretation where radiologists are not available locally
  • Is affordable, with an overall low cost of ownership, including purchasing, operating, maintenance and repairs for the entire product lifecycle

Project status

The GlobalDiagnostiX medical X-ray solution is being commercialized and deployed by Pristem SA, a startup founded with a record-breaking CHF14 million from Swiss and African investors in its first – and only – funding round.

Watch the video

Project partners

The GlobalDiagnostiX project was conducted by EssentialTech in collaboration with five EPFL labs and several partners in Africa and Switzerland. Donor sponsorship was also essential. 

EPFL labs:

LTS5

DESL

LSM

LAMD

LSRO

Partners:

Sponsors:

Find out more on the website of Pristem SA

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The GlobalDiagnostiX system was conceived, built and tested with partners and at EPFL.
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Presentation of the finished prototype and launch of Pristem SA.
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