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Collaboration ― making great things happen

Entrepreneurship can be isolating and overwhelming. To accomplish his goals, one physician knew he would require the support of a multi-disciplinary team.

On this episode of Boldly, Director of Communication at Joule, Tamara Mason, sits down with Dr. Jacob Jaremko, a pediatric musculoskeletal radiologist, and founder of CUDL (Collaborative Ultrasound Deep Learning). Together, they discuss how medical collaboration can help make ideas like CUDL a reality.

Dr. Jaremko launched CUDL to find viable alternatives to subjecting newborn babies to problematic ultrasounds. To this end, CUDL is leading the way in the transition from 2D to 3D ultrasound scanners.

Such an industry shift would not be possible without collaborative efforts such as these. In this episode, he talks about how the group came together, how they all benefited from collaboration and where they plan to take CUDL in the future.

tweetable: To actually do this, and to actually make a change … to actually make it happen requires this collaboration.

Key takeaways

What was the motivation behind CUDL?

  • The motivation for CUDL came from a common problem he encountered in his practice.
  • After performing often inconclusive 2D ultrasound scans on newborn babies’ hips, Dr. Jaremko was convinced there had to be a better solution.
  • His solution was to conduct a 3D ultrasound of the entire hip, instead of a standard 2D ultrasound.  
  • Along the way, Dr. Jaremko learnt that this work required collaboration between different institutions, practices, and people of diverse backgrounds.
tweetable: It’s much more interesting to work with a group of diverse people than it is to try and hammer away in isolation.

How big of a leap was it to move from 2D to 3D ultrasounds?

  • The change in the technology itself or the difference between taking 2D or 3D images isn’t massive.
  • The big leap occurs in knowing how to interpret and act on those images.
tweetable: 3D ultrasound can scan any body part, and can answer many different medical problems.

When starting, did Dr. Jaremko realize how many people he would need for this team?

  • Initially, it was just him and a biomedical engineering student.
  • As CUDL grew, they added engineers, surgeons and other professionals with different skills and expertise as needed.
tweetable: The more I do this, the more I think that research is all about making friends.

Now that the collaborative ultrasound exists, can it be leveraged for other cases?

  • The 3D ultrasound can scan any body part, such as blood vessels, soft tissue, organs (including the heart) and bones.
  • Different uses continue to develop―this is an innovation that will continue to grow.
tweetable: The big leap comes in knowing what to do with those images, and trying to analyze them in a useful way.

How much did the original idea for CUDL evolve to become what it is today?

  • The original purpose and goal for CUDL still holds―every baby born would be scanned using this technology.
  • What has changed in working toward this goal is all the steps in between and how they will ultimately achieve it.
  • In the beginning, Dr. Jaremko could never have predicted that CUDL would be this relevant worldwide.
tweetable: The vision is that every baby in the world that’s born gets this ultrasound scan immediately after birth.

Was there a specific moment in the process that made Dr. Jaremko believe in this collaborative effort?

  • A significant breakthrough for CUDL was making the process more automated in identifying problems.
  • Without the collaboration of other doctors working on the issue, this breakthrough would not have happened.
tweetable: There are many different ideas and new ideas keep coming to us, actually, as we roll along.

Will the collaboration efforts continue to expand in the future?

  • Dr. Jaremko wants to move forward in two directions simultaneously: advancing technical collaboration and clinical collaboration.
  • The team wants to recruit for both directions so they can analyze data more effectively.
tweetable: I think the most success with it, with making a good network of collaboration is to think of it almost like a network of friends.

What are some tips for finding potential collaborators?

  • Making friends and networking are essential parts of the research process.
  • Keep up both an academic and social relationship with potential team members.
  • It’s critical to find a group that enjoys working together on problems.
tweetable: For me, the connections come best when I have a colleague and go see them maybe not just academically, but also socially.

Recommended resources

Dr. Jacob Jaremko, Joule Innovation grant recipient 2016, a video about CUDL.

3D Ultrasound in Hip Dysplasia, a video about the motivation behind CUDL

Dr. Jacob Jaremko – 2018 CAR Young Investigator Award Recipient, a Canadian Association of Radiology article about Dr. Jaremko

How collaboration shaped my experience with innovation, a Boldly article about the benefits of collaboration



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The opinions stated by podcast participants are made in a personal capacity and do not reflect those of the Canadian Medical Association and its subsidiaries including Joule. Joule does not endorse any views, product, service, association, company or industry mentioned in this podcast.