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Eko AI’s daring odyssey in the battle against the silent nemesis

Conceptual art copyrighted to HiEquity.ai

In 2019, around 197.2 million people globally were affected by ischemic heart disease (IHD), with a higher prevalence in men, according to the American Heart Association. The highest rates were in regions like North Africa, the Middle East, Central Asia, and Eastern Europe. Cardiovascular diseases caused 17.7 million deaths worldwide in 2015 and are expected to rise to 22 million by 2030 due to an aging population and increasing non-communicable diseases. The EU sees an annual cost of €210 billion from cardiovascular conditions, including healthcare, productivity losses, and informal care costs. This scenario underscores the need for effective solutions like those offered by Eko AI, co-founded by James Hare and Yoran Hummel in 2017 and headquartered in the Asia-Pacific region. This strategic location positions Eko AI as a hub of technological innovation and healthcare growth.

Pain point addressed

Eko AI specifically addresses the challenge of efficiently diagnosing cardiovascular diseases, particularly heart disease, which is a leading cause of death globally. The company’s focus is on the early detection and treatment of heart disease using machine learning-based software. This technology streamlines the time-consuming and complex process of echocardiogram analysis, reducing it to a matter of seconds. This solution is particularly beneficial for clinicians, including non-cardiologists and even non-physicians, enabling them to quickly and accurately diagnose heart diseases. Eko AI’s software thus plays a crucial role in the healthcare value chain by aiding in early detection, which can lead to better patient outcomes and reduce the burden on healthcare systems. The primary stakeholders involved include healthcare providers, patients, and healthcare systems, particularly in regions with high prevalence rates of heart disease.

Type of solution

Eko AI’s hand-held device, a sophisticated blend of a digital stethoscope and electrocardiogram (ECG), stands at the forefront of their AI-driven diagnostic strategy for heart disease. This innovative tool captures comprehensive cardiac data, recording both phonocardiograms (heart sounds) and ECGs (heart’s electrical activity). The device generates detailed readings like heart rhythm patterns and murmurs, essential for cardiac assessment. Data from the device is wirelessly transmitted to Eko AI’s software hub, where machine learning algorithms swiftly analyze it, spotting potential heart abnormalities. This automated process streamlines the traditionally cumbersome echocardiogram analysis, significantly cutting down on the time and complexity involved.

Designed for user-friendliness, the device is operable not just by cardiologists but also by general practitioners and other healthcare professionals, making it a versatile tool in various clinical settings. It’s particularly useful for early detection and continuous monitoring of heart conditions, thus facilitating timely medical interventions. Eko AI also offers an array of digital stethoscopes, including the DUO® ECG + Digital Stethoscope, CORE® Digital Attachment, and the 3M™ Littmann® CORE Digital Stethoscope, all compatible with their AI software, exemplifying the integration of advanced diagnostic technology in routine healthcare practice.

Source: https://www.ekohealth.com/pages/benefits-of-ecg-stethoscope

Type of input data leveraged

  • Eko AI leverages echocardiogram data as its primary input. Echocardiograms are a type of cardiac imaging that provides critical information about the heart’s structure and function. By analyzing this data with their machine learning algorithms, Eko AI’s software can efficiently interpret these complex medical images, aiding in the accurate diagnosis of heart conditions. This use of echocardiogram data is central to the company’s innovative approach to cardiovascular disease diagnosis.

Key technology involved

  • Eko AI leverages key technologies in machine learning and artificial intelligence (AI) for its solutions. These technologies enable the advanced analysis of echocardiogram data, facilitating the accurate and efficient diagnosis of heart diseases. The use of AI, particularly machine learning algorithms, is crucial in interpreting complex medical imaging data, turning a process that traditionally requires extensive time and expertise into a more streamlined and accessible task. This technological approach is at the core of Eko AI’s innovation in healthcare diagnostics.
  • Digital signal processing: enhances the clarity of heart and lung sounds.
  • ECG integration: featured in the DUO stethoscope for comprehensive cardiac analysis.
  • Connectivity features: enable data sharing and storage and support telehealth applications.

Key applications of solution

Diagnostic assistance

  • Automated analysis of echocardiograms: streamlines the process of interpreting echocardiogram data, reducing time and manual effort.
  • Early detection of heart diseases: enhances the ability to identify heart conditions at an earlier stage, improving patient outcomes.

Treatment planning

  • Personalized treatment recommendations: AI-driven insights can assist in tailoring treatment plans based on individual patient data.

Patient monitoring

  • Ongoing monitoring of heart conditions: This enables regular, efficient check-ups, which are crucial for managing chronic heart conditions.

Research and development

  • Data analysis for research purposes: This provides a powerful tool for medical research, helping in the discovery of new insights into heart diseases.

Healthcare system efficiency

  • Reduction in diagnostic time and cost: Saves valuable resources for healthcare providers.
  • Improved allocation of medical resources: This helps in prioritizing care for patients with more severe conditions.

Implications for key stakeholders


  • Patients in remote or underserved areas can benefit from more accurate early detection of heart conditions. Tailored treatment plans based on precise diagnostic data can lead to more effective patient care.

Healthcare providers

  • It enables non-cardiologists to perform advanced cardiac assessments, elevating the standard of care in general practice settings. AI-driven insights can assist in complex clinical decision-making, enhancing the quality of care.

Healthcare systems

  • Efficient diagnostic processes can alleviate the strain on healthcare systems, particularly in regions with high cardiovascular disease prevalence. The integration of AI can pave the way for data-driven healthcare strategies and policy-making.


  • Early and accurate diagnosis can reduce long-term healthcare costs associated with advanced heart diseases. Improved diagnostic tools can aid in more accurate risk profiling for insurance purposes.

Regulatory bodies

  • Eko AI’s technology can influence the setting of new standards and protocols in cardiac care. Ensures compliance and raises considerations for patient data privacy and ethical AI use in healthcare.

Current impact

  • In a clinical study, Eko AI demonstrated a 99% sensitivity and 97% specificity in detecting atrial fibrillation (AFib) when analyzing 1-lead ECG tracing built into the Eko DUO stethoscope. Eko’s AI identified heart murmurs with 87% sensitivity and 87% specificity, surpassing the average physician’s accuracy. Heart murmurs are often indicative of valvular or structural heart disease, affecting millions of patients.
  • Eko AI’s software is integrated into various clinical settings and fits seamlessly into clinicians’ workflows. Their line of digital stethoscopes, including the DUO® ECG + Digital Stethoscope, CORE® Digital Attachment, and the 3M™ Littmann® CORE Digital stethoscope, are all compatible with Eko’s AI screening software.
  • Clinicians across many disciplines and healthcare organizations of all sizes use Eko AI daily. The technology assists in driving the evolution of cardiac care by enabling clinicians to make more informed patient care decisions sooner.
  • Eko’s FDA-cleared platform is used by hundreds of thousands of clinicians worldwide, treating millions of patients both in-person and through telehealth.

Potential future impact

  • Eko AI’s partnership with Imperial College London and the UK National Health Service (NHS) to initiate the TRICORDER program across the UK is a significant development. This program targets heart failure, valvular heart disease, and atrial fibrillation, deploying Eko’s technology to 100 general practitioners. This move demonstrates a commitment to improving heart disease outcomes on a large scale and showcases the potential of AI in primary care settings.
  • Given Eko AI’s success in cardiac health, a potential future direction could be the expansion of its AI technology to other areas of internal medicine. For instance, leveraging AI for the early detection of pulmonary conditions or integrating their technology with telehealth platforms to enhance remote patient monitoring. This expansion could position Eko AI as a pivotal player in the broader spectrum of internal medicine, catering to a wider range of diseases and potentially transforming patient care in multiple domains.

Business model

Eko AI operates on a B2B (Business-to-Business) model, primarily serving healthcare organizations and clinicians. Physicians receive guidance on navigating and utilizing the AI software for effective data analysis and interpretation. Training also covers the integration of this data into patient management systems, ensuring seamless use in clinical workflows. The company also offers machine learning-based software that transforms the analysis of echocardiograms from a time-consuming process into a rapid, efficient one, catering to a significant need within the healthcare sector.

Advantages of the business model

  • Eko AI enhances healthcare efficiency and productivity by automating echocardiogram analysis, reducing manual labor, and streamlining diagnosis processes.
  • The company’s goal to democratize echocardiography access addresses the global challenge of cardiovascular disease.
  • Through collaborations with top pharmaceutical companies and academic institutions, including AstraZeneca and Brigham and Women’s Hospital, Eko AI is recognized for its contributions to cardiac health research.
  • Its strategic advantages include broadening access to advanced cardiac care, particularly in underserved areas, cost-effectiveness in diagnostics, and providing more accurate, data-driven insights for patient care through AI and machine learning.

Funding and key stakeholders

Eko AI, a pioneer in AI-driven healthcare technology, has successfully raised $5 million through two funding rounds. The most recent injection of capital came from a seed round on January 7, 2020. Eko AI has attracted funding from five investors, with Partech and SGInnovate being the most recent contributors. These investors play a pivotal role in supporting Eko AI’s mission to revolutionize cardiovascular healthcare through AI and machine learning. Partech, known for its global investment reach, and SGInnovate, with its focus on deep tech startups, bring valuable resources and expertise. Their investment not only provides financial backing but also adds strategic value, aiding Eko AI in scaling its innovative solutions and expanding its market presence in the healthcare technology sector.

Competitive differentiator

Eko AI’s competitive edge is in its technologically advanced integration of phonocardiogram (PCG) analysis with electrocardiogram (ECG) data, utilizing AI algorithms. This dual-data approach, harnessing both auditory heart signals and electrical heart activity, enables a more holistic and precise cardiovascular assessment. This technical synergy in processing and interpreting both PCG and ECG data sets Eko AI apart in the digital health domain, especially for detecting complex conditions like valvular heart diseases, which are often underdiagnosed with conventional methods.

Relevant regulatory and compliance requirements

  • Regular updates and adherence to FDA guidelines are essential for medical devices and software used in healthcare, particularly in the U.S.
  • Ensuring the security and privacy of patient health information in line with the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act.
  • Compliance with European health, safety, and environmental protection standards for products sold within the European Economic Area.
  • Adhering to global data privacy regulations like the GDPR in Europe.
  • Continual clinical testing and validation are necessary to ensure the efficacy and safety of the AI algorithms.
  • Maintaining high cybersecurity standards to protect sensitive health data from breaches.

Partnerships and collaborations

  • AstraZeneca collaboration: focused on developing digital health tools for early cardiovascular disease screening, particularly heart failure, and enhancing Eko’s AI algorithm development.
  • Janssen pharmaceutical company partnership: Aims at automating echocardiography analyses for pulmonary hypertension detection and refining heart failure diagnosis algorithms.
  • Strategic partnership with AstraZeneca in Singapore: Accelerates the deployment of AI technology to improve heart disease diagnosis, with a significant focus on the diabetic population at risk for heart disease.


“With the CORE 500™, I was able to catch rhythms I couldn’t see before. I might not hear a flutter, but if the ECG looked funny, it would prompt me to listen longer.” Rebecca B. (RN, Medical Surgery, Telemetry)

“A digital version of a pocket ECG can truly be a game changer in the diagnosis of cardiovascular disease and preventing serious complications, even in asymptomatic patients.” Luis F. (Primary Care) Physician

Areas of continuous improvement

A continuous improvement area for Eko AI could be the exploration and incorporation of patient-centric AI feedback mechanisms. This could involve developing AI models that not only analyze medical data but also learn from patient-reported outcomes, symptoms, and responses to treatments. Such a dynamic, patient-informed AI system could further refine diagnostic accuracy and treatment effectiveness, keeping Eko AI at the forefront of patient-centered technological innovation in healthcare.




Disclaimer: Please note that the opinions, content, and analysis in my posts are entirely my own and do not reflect the views of any current or past employers or institutional affiliations. These posts, based solely on publicly available information, are for informational purposes and should not be taken as professional advice. All insights and conclusions are my viewpoints and should not be considered representative of any organizations I am or have been associated with. This content is not endorsed by, nor does it represent the stance of any affiliated entity.


Hiequity Team

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