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New artificial intelligence based system to read medical images

Analysis of medical reports is a specialized job and the process requires many years of extensive training. In many parts of the world there is a supply-demand imbalance in the need for and the demand for such professionals. The technology from companies like VoxelCloud aim to address this problem and to aid medical staff in speeding up the diagnostic process.

The artificial intelligence technology was developed by Dr. Xiaowei Ding. The Chinese based researcher formed the company VoxelCloud to develop technology can can read medical images and provide diagnostic insights. Such systems have the potential to offer a shift in how clinicians work in an effort to significantly boost workflow efficiency, while at the same time improving care and patient throughput. The aim with artificial intelligence for medical scanning is not to replace doctors; instead the technology is concerned with augmenting the ability of medics to identify the important and relevant data required to care for a patient and present it in a concise, easily digestible format.

The VoxelCloud example is with the construction of systems based on artificial intelligence, together with cloud computing technology, and machine learning. The focus is with improving the efficiency of report interpretation and analysis. The technology uses a data-driven algorithmic to help medics to make informed decisions.

The technology developed to date by VoxelCloud is aimed at pulmonary disease, screening for cancer (using a liquid biopsy imaging solution, aimed at early cancer screening), and assessing coronary artery disease. The technology can also be used for assessing ultrasound and X-rays. The technology can assess various different types of medical images, such as computed tomography (computer-processed combinations of many X-ray measurements taken from different angles to produce cross-sectional – tomographic – images) or digital color imaging of the retina.

In terms of applications, the system is in use in medical facilities in Suzhou and Shanghai for the diagnosis of lung cancer, retinal diseases, and coronary heart disease. Formal approval by the Chinese Food and Drug Administration is expected by the end of 2017.

According to industry analysts the medical imaging market is already valued at $30 billion and considerable growth, with the application of artificial intelligence systems, is anticipated in 2017 and 2018. This will lead to more platforms, running artificial intelligence and machine-learning algorithms, trained to find patterns in images, identify specific anatomical markers. For more on such technology, see the Digital Journal article “Artificial intelligence helps with skin cancer detection.”

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Written By

Dr. Tim Sandle is Digital Journal's Editor-at-Large for science news. Tim specializes in science, technology, environmental, business, and health journalism. He is additionally a practising microbiologist; and an author. He is also interested in history, politics and current affairs.

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