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article imageOnline algorithm may provide patients a second opinion on scans

By Claudio Buttice     Nov 28, 2016 in Health
A new online service called "Profound" has been developed to provide a fully automatic, algorithm-based analysis of CT scans, mammograms and other medical imaging reports.
Every day six million American individuals search for health information online. Most of them are patients seeking an answer to their medical doubts on the Internet, and sadly "Dr. Google" is becoming a popular alternative to a real physician rather than just an "assistant." To satisfy this hunger and improve the quality of health information found online, many new tools have been developed to make sense of symptoms or just help a health care provider formulate his diagnosis.
Human doctors are, in fact, all but infallible and the addition of new digital tools to reduce the risk of overlooking a key finding in all kind of medical reports has always been sought after by physicians and patients as well. A new online platform developed by the analytics company Zebra Medical Vision has been recently launched to allow people upload their medical scans and receive a real-time analysis from anywhere. Profound is based on several algorithms that the company's analysts designed after they collected medical imaging data coming from thousands of anonymous patients selected from clinics and hospitals all across the world.
Zebra claims that their algorithm can scan many types of medical reports such as mammograms and CTs for conditions such as osteoporosis, emphysema, aortic aneurysms and may others, and detect them with a 90 percent accuracy. Profound can help spot unsuspected findings since usually a doctor looks for the specific sign that caused the symptom for which the patient was recovered. The computerized algorithm, on the other hand, and does that in just a couple of minutes. The service is currently available in countries in Europe, Middle East and Asia-Pacific region, and is expected in the United States somewhere in the next year.
Recent researches already demonstrated that no computer-based algorithm might outperform human intelligence when checking for symptoms or providing a diagnosis. However, a large study on the role of computerized interpretation of medical reports found that automation may provide a general improvement in readings when doctors are assisted by a digital tool that provides correct and reliable results. Zebra Medical Vision's new platform does not aim at substituting the expertise of a specialist and cannot replace a proper medical examination. The idea is, instead, to complement the work of a physician with a tool that has an improved chance to detect hidden health insights, reducing the chance of the so-called "false negatives." Patients can also find relief from the anxiety involved by receiving a second opinion for certain scans, and follow up with their doctor whenever they're suspicious about their conditions.
More about medical imaging, zebra medical vision, online doctor, CT scans, Radiology
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