Portal Telemedicina leverages Google Cloud to provide remote diagnosis platform

About Portal Telemedicina

Portal Telemedicina is a Brazilian healthcare-oriented tech company with the mission to save lives and guarantee universal access to medicine. With an award winning platform, Portal is able to connect clinics, hospitals and patients to some of the best specialist physicians in Brazil, who are able to remotely report exams with the support of Artificial Intelligence and provide assistance via teleconsultation.

Industries: Healthcare
Location: Brasil

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Healthtech firm leverages Google Cloud solutions to handle data and test scans and allow medical reporting, detecting diseases and connecting patients and doctors.

Results

  • Medical reporting on tests delivered to clinics at a discounted value within minutes.
  • Serving millions of patients from 500 healthcare units in over 300 cities.
  • +30 million test scans handled by its system.
  • Covid-19 cases detected in 10 minutes with an accuracy rate of up to 95%.
  • Built apps to connect patients to a 2,500-physician network.

Around 3,000 reports are generated daily on the platform.

A small clinic in Coari, a city located 444 kilometers from Manaus (Amazonas state), offers diagnoses with support from medical specialists based in large cities such as São Paulo. Providing care for these patients became possible thanks to its partnership with Portal Telemedicina, which uses technologies such as IA, ML and other Google Cloud solutions to provide quick, accurate diagnoses remotely.

Portal Telemedicina is a Brazilian healthtech firm established in 2014. It provides an online platform for small clinics or those located in remote areas of Brazil to forward tests to medical specialists, so they can assess them and send back a diagnosis online. The company took part in two editions of the Google for Startups Accelerator program, which helped them improve their technology and boost business.

The healthtech uses Google Cloud’s Application Programming Interfaces (APIs) to encrypt patient data and store them in the cloud. It also adopted ML Engine to train its algorithms in order to detect diseases in tests, allowing the system to sort the diagnosis queue by urgency, so medical specialists are able to identify the most urgent cases and prioritize care.

According to Rafael Figueroa, co-founder and CEO of Portal Telemedicina, this technology allows accelerating the diagnosing process, so tests that used to take days to get a medical assessment are now delivered within minutes by some of Brazil’s top medical specialists. By using Google Cloud, the company also dramatically reduced the value of the services it provides for the clinic.

“We are growing and operating at scale thanks to Google Cloud; we already generate about thousands of reports daily. In addition to Brazil, we began operating in Angola, Africa, and aim to expand our operations to the United States and Europe.”

Rafael Figueroa, co-founder and CEO, Portal Telemedicina

Currently, the healthtech provides care for millions of patients from over 500 clinics and hospitals in 300 cities. Its system has handled more than 30 million test scans so far.

According to Ricardo dos Santos Faria, a physician and owner of Centro de Medicina Ocupacional de Coari, a city located in the countryside of Amazonas state, only the combination between technology and medicine can improve the quality of life and provide adequate care for patients from remote communities. “We have more than 200 villages and the only way out from here is by plane or boat. With the technology and the partnership with Portal Telemedicina, we were able to open the clinic and reach out to a new world, overcoming the local hurdles of a lack of medical specialists and infrastructure,” says Faria.

New solutions during the Covid-19 pandemic

Google Cloud’s tools helped Portal Telemedicina expand access to quality healthcare, making medical information more readily accessible, actionable and secure. At the onset of the Covid-19 pandemic in 2020, this work became even more important to help save lives.

To detect Covid-19 cases in X-rays exams, the healthtech trained computer vision algorithms developed in partnership with Google, which the company already used in Radiology. Since those algorithms had already been specialized to detect cases of pneumonia with a history log of millions of tests, the team was able to train them to tell regular pneumonia from cases caused by Covid-19 with an accuracy rate as high as 95% and a time to diagnosis of 10 minutes.

“With support from Google Cloud’s big data tools, we managed to ingest, clean up and preprocess new complementary datasets quickly (using Dataflow, BigQuery and Data Studio), produce our own training data on TFRecord format and experiment quickly with training parameters using AI Platform. The scalability and ease of integration between all these tools was key for us to achieve the development speed that we needed,” says the CEO.

With that method, clinics and hospitals are able to identify and isolate potentially infected patients quickly while they wait for the lab test results. This helps prevent the disease from spreading and reduces the number of false positives. Along with physicians and customers, Portal Telemedicina is now assessing the practical impact of the technology. Based on the data, the company aims to prove the model’s efficiency to Brazil’s National Sanitary Oversight Agency (ANVISA) so it can be used not only for triage and alerting, but for diagnosis as well.

“It is an innovative, unique technology which could potentially help thousands in Brazil and, hopefully, around the world.”

Rafael Figueroa, co-founder and CEO, Portal Telemedicina

Another service developed by Portal Telemedicina during that period was the creation of apps to enable patients to access a 2,500-physician network and get online care. This was a demand from physicians who owned clinics closed during the pandemic and the patients themselves. Thanks to a government regulation that allowed the provision of remote healthcare in this situation, the company was able to provide this solution.

For Figueroa, AI is an important differentiator in the healthcare industry, since it can be used for prevention, diagnostics support, clinical protocol automation, optimization of asset use and fraud detection. Portal Telemedicina intends to carry on with R&D projects for the mass deployment of these assets supported by Google Cloud’s technology.

“The partnership with Google Cloud is essential in this journey, both for supporting AI research and ensuring quality in the data streaming, computing and security infrastructure.”

Rafael Figueroa, co-founder and CEO, Portal Telemedicina

Tell us your challenge. We're here to help.

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About Portal Telemedicina

Portal Telemedicina is a Brazilian healthcare-oriented tech company with the mission to save lives and guarantee universal access to medicine. With an award winning platform, Portal is able to connect clinics, hospitals and patients to some of the best specialist physicians in Brazil, who are able to remotely report exams with the support of Artificial Intelligence and provide assistance via teleconsultation.

Industries: Healthcare
Location: Brasil