How AI changes productivity in healthcare

An AI radiologist can read images and medical records

For traditional health companies the prospect of seeing their profits moved into the coffers of disruptive technology companies is becoming very real indeed – genome storage by Google, and now AI in radiology. . .

From MIT Technology Review:

“Software that can read medical images and written health records could help radiologists work faster and more accurately.

Most smart software in use today specializes on one type of data, be that interpreting text or guessing at the content of photos. Software in development at IBM has to do all those at once. It’s in training to become a radiologist’s assistant.

The software is code-named Avicenna, after an 11th century philosopher who wrote an influential medical encyclopedia. It can identify anatomical features and abnormalities in medical images such as CT scans, and also draws on text and other data in a patient’s medical record to suggest possible diagnoses and treatments.

AI Radiologist

Avicenna is intended to be used by cardiologists and radiologists to speed up their work and reduce errors, and is currently specialized to cardiology and breast radiology. It is currently being tested and tuned up using anonymized medical images and records. But Tanveer Syeda-Mahmood, a researcher at IBM’s Almaden research lab near San Jose, California, and chief scientist on the project, says that her team and others in the company are already getting ready to start testing the software outside the lab on large volumes of real patient data. “We’re getting into preparations for commercialization,” she says.

Avicenna “looks” at medical images using a suite of different image-processing algorithms with different specialties. Some have been trained to judge how far down a patient’s chest a CT scan slice is from, for example. Others can identify the organs or label abnormalities such as blood clots. Some of these image components use a technique called deep learning, which has recently produced major leaps in the accuracy of image recognition software (see “AI Advances Make It Possible to Search, Shop with Images”).

The image-processing algorithms work alongside others that have been trained to interpret text and test results in medical records. Avicenna has a “reasoning” system that draws on the output from all those different signals to suggest possible diagnoses for a patient. It shows a summary of that reasoning to the person working with the software”…more…