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Welch Allyn Acquires UTRF Startup Hubble Telemedical to Combat Diabetic Retinopathy

Category: Research

KNOXVILLE – Welch Allyn, Inc. has announced the acquisition of Hubble Telemedical, Inc., a privately held health care company founded by UT Health Science Center researcher Edward Chaum and ORNL researcher Kenneth Tobin, who developed a way to provide remote diabetic retinopathy screening and analysis in primary care doctors’ offices and other convenient settings.

Chaum, Plough Foundation Professor of Retinal Diseases and the acting director of research for the UTHSC Hamilton Eye Institute, and Tobin, director and a corporate research fellow of the Electrical and Electronics Systems Research Division at ORNL, worked together on the technology to help save the sight of diabetic patients, particularly those with low incomes and a lack of access to regular vision screenings. Hubble Telemedical Inc. offers real-time screening and diagnosis services for diabetic retinopathy, the most common diabetic eye disease and a leading cause of blindness caused by changes in the blood vessels of the retina.

This technology was developed at UTHSC and ORNL using federal and private grant funding and was commercially licensed to Hubble by UT-Battelle and the University of Tennessee Research Foundation. Hubble’s Telemedical Retinal Image Analysis and Diagnosis (TRIAD) technology, a web-based telemedical platform, achieves real-time diagnosis of diabetic retinopathy and other retinal diseases over the Internet by using retina cameras to capture and securely transmit patient images for remote, expert physician diagnosis and validation.

Through the company’s TRIAD network, its remote retinal specialists provide same day diagnosis, disease severity level information, and a patient management plan to a primary care or other end-user site, establishing a new remote diagnostic model for managing diabetic retinal diseases. It also provides its diabetic retinal disease screening services to healthcare plans to help them improve HEDIS compliance levels and achieve 5 STAR status. Hubble Telemedical Inc. was incorporated in 2011 and has its office in Knoxville.

“Hubble Telemedical started ten years ago as a concept and has always been about changing the health care paradigm and the way we screen for diabetic eye disease, to make it accessible, efficient, and effective in reducing vision loss and blindness. Being part of a world class health care company like Welch Allyn now creates an opportunity to scale Hubble into an innovative national enterprise to achieve these goals,” Chaum said.

UTRF helps inventors at UT turn their ideas and discoveries into products and services that benefit society. In addition to supporting the university research enterprise and commercializing the resulting inventions, UTRF also supports entrepreneurship as well as state and regional economic development efforts. UTRF serves all seven of the UT campuses and institutes across the state. For more information, visit

About Welch Allyn, Inc.

Since 1915 Welch Allyn has brought a unique perspective to developing diagnostic solutions by combining pragmatic knowledge with a visionary spirit of innovation and ongoing improvement. As a leading global manufacturer of physical examination instruments and accessories and EMR-connected vital signs and cardiac monitoring solutions, the company has a steadfast commitment to delivering superlative medical products, services and solutions that help healthcare professionals provide better care for their patients.


As Tennessee’s only public, statewide, academic health system, the mission of the University of Tennessee Health Science Center (UTHSC) is to bring the benefits of the health sciences to the achievement and maintenance of human health, with a focus on the citizens of Tennessee and the region, by pursuing an integrated program of education, research, clinical care, and public service. Offering a broad range of postgraduate and selected baccalaureate training opportunities, the main UTHSC campus is located in Memphis and includes six colleges: Dentistry, Graduate Health Sciences, Health Professions, Medicine, Nursing and Pharmacy. UTHSC also educates and trains cohorts of medicine, pharmacy and/or health professions students—in addition to medical residents and fellows—at its major sites in Knoxville, Chattanooga and Nashville. Founded in 1911, during its more than 100 years, UT Health Science Center has educated and trained more than 57,000 health care professionals in academic settings and health care facilities across the state. For more information, visit

For more information about the acquisition, visit



Melissa Dos Santos, UTRF


Category: Research