When we think about a pathologist, we quickly imagine a person wearing thick glasses and a lab coat, peering in a microscope. There is a tray of slides nearby to be checked, and the wall is lined with chemical reagents for the tests.
However, this picture is changing rapidly. While the slides and the microscope remain more or less constant, most of the diagnostic work is done using advanced machinery. There are easy to use test kits and elaborate equipment that can give you a reading with 99.5% accuracy. Even the microscopes can project the image on a huge LED, and pathologists and clinicians can discuss the cases in Multi-disciplinary meetings.
All these exercises create data that is used by the clinicians as well as the pathologists to learn a bit more, reducing error and improving judgement with each passing day. However, the factor of human error always remains, and this is the focus of newer research in the application of Artificial Intelligence in diagnostic medicine.
The new age of AI in diagnostics
Many companies are investing heavily in creating easy-to-use, almost bedside diagnostic test kits. These would reduce the need for an elaborate lab testing, making screening easier and more practical. Screening is when a lot of samples are tested using simpler test kits, and the ones with red flags are then referred for elaborate lab tests.
Till now, however, these test kits could not remove the factor of human error. An incorrectly obtained sample is not going to test correctly, and a disease can be missed. Using AI, some of these tests are becoming easier to administer.
Talking about screening, in April 2018, The USFDA gave an approval to market the first machine to use AI in diagnostics for detecting Diabetic Retinopathy. It is a condition of the eye where Diabetes can cause blindness.
There were 422 million adults living with Diabetes in 2014. In Europe, the percentage of Diabetes ranges from just under 7% in the UK to over 11% in Germany, over 13% in Portugal, and over 14% in Turkey. and an early diagnosis can prevent that. These countries often spend thousands of Euros per patient on their diabetes programmes. The good news is, diabetic retinopathy can be detected early and prevented. The problem is, many diabetics don’t see an eye specialist on a regular basis, and when they do, it is often too late!
The beauty of this device is that it does not require a specialist to read the results. The images are obtained by a trained technician or a doctor and are interpreted by a software using data points already gathered from a lot of testing. This opens doors for screening procedures that will become less dependent on a particular person, like a specialist, and are easily replicable with minimal training. USFDA hints that there might be quite a few similar machines in the world of diagnostic screening on their way.
Aimedis and AI in diagnostics
Aimedis believes that technology and AI can revolutionise how healthcare is delivered. We have special services where hospitals can use our services to communicate with each other as well as the patients in a better way. Patients with chronic diseases like Diabetes can get online consultations without actually visiting a doctor.
Patients have started using smart blood glucometers now. This allows them to test and store their blood sugar levels with ease. Aimedis integrates this data and a doctor can see it alongside other lab tests and the data from any other trackers easily. This ensures that nothing is lost because there are too many apps to check.
And when a patient suffering from Diabetes needs to Talk to someone who is going through similar pain, we make it possible with our social support function. Support is a very important part of the recovery process. We believe that sharing stories gives you the inner strength to stick to the diet and take your medicines on time, something even the doctor cannot ensure.
We believe that healthcare can benefit massively from the use of AI, and In our own way, we are trying to make it better.