We all recognize that artificial intelligence plays an increasingly prominent role in the medical field today. Each day more and more software applications are being developed to support physicians and facilitate their work. So what makes Avicenna stand out from the rest?
To begin, a key focus of the Avicenna portfolio today lies in a specific area of healthcare focused on emergency triage. This strategic vision is motivated largely by understanding the intersection of what AI technology is capable of doing today and what physicians are most likely to find useful. By carefully designing applications that enhance the physician workflow, we are acknowledging that at least the in immediate future, AI will play a very focused role in augmenting patient care without replacing autonomous human decision making.
Having made this observation, one natural and powerful role AI can play is to assist human physicians in the triage of patient care. In this framework, AI software is used to identify patients with positive, urgent findings that need to be addressed promptly. All findings and diagnoses made by the AI system are ultimately reviewed by a human physician before final treatment decisions are made. The synergy afforded by this system between the human physician and AI will ultimately lead to improved patient care and outcomes.
Our solution does not stop there. In the triage marketplace, there remains significant room for improvement. One of the key features missing in all currently available commercial solutions is the ability to perform a simple comparison between a historic examination, that is, the ability to not just detect hemorrhage, but to characterize whether the hemorrhage has gotten bigger or smaller. In most academic practices, the vast majority of all exams are follow-up studies and so the presence of a finding is usually not innately an emergency on its own; instead; it is the presence or absence of change that physicians care most about.
Based on this discussion, the natural next evolution of AI software is a type of algorithm whereby humans no longer need to participate in the interpretation process. This new type of application is certainly in my opinion the next most important, most exciting opportunity for AI. The idea here is to develop very sensitive algorithms, capable of detecting any anomaly present on the screen. Such a tool, if calibrated properly, may be used to screen all patients before human interpretation; depending on algorithm confidence, one may imagine that a subset of normal patients may not need to be evaluated at all by a human physician. Freeing the attention of busy physicians to now focus on those select few patients that need it the most, this system may realize what the economist Jean Fourastié once claimed as “the machine that leads man to specialize in the human”.
Dr. Peter Chang – Director at UCI Center for AI in Diagnostic Medicine