Intermountain Healthcare has announced it has partnered with the Israel-based deep learning company Zebra Medical Vision. The aim of the collaboration is for Zebra Medical Vision machine learning technology to be integrated into medical imaging analytics at Intermountain.
The use of artificial intelligence systems promises to revolutionize medicine, speeding up the diagnosis of medical conditions such as cancer and reducing reliance on medical specialists to arrive at the correct diagnoses.
While specialists are able to correctly diagnose medical conditions in the majority of cases, there are limits to human abilities. For instance, even the most experienced specialists do not have a truly encyclopedic knowledge of every medical condition and do not have easy access to the truly vast data archives of medical images and research papers.
Artificial intelligence systems that use parallel computing and deep learning neural networks can be used to analyze the vast collection of data together with patients’ medical images. Since AI systems can analyze data faster than humans, AI systems can help diagnose diseases faster. In turn, AI will help to decrease healthcare costs and improve patient outcomes.
The aim of the technology is not to replace radiologists, instead deep learning systems can be used to detect serious medical conditions faster and make physicians, radiologists, and neurologists more productive.
Intermountain Healthcare will be using the technology developed by Zebra Medical Vision to provide more cost-effective patient treatment. The analytics engine developed by Zebra Medical Vision will be fed medical images and will be taught to look for the signs of diseases and abnormalities in bone, pulmonary, and metabolic health.
While deep learning systems can be used to look at medical images to provide a ‘machine diagnosis’, the initial aim of the collaboration is to provide new population-level insights and identify patients at risk allowing early intervention and faster treatment.
According to Intermountain’s director of imaging services, Keith White MD, “Our physicians will be more productive and be enabled to create clinically actionable discrete data through the use of automated assistants that will help them deal with ever increasing workloads – without compromising quality of care.” White explained the significance of the new technology, saying “We believe imaging analytics will change how we practice radiology over the next decade.”
Intermountain has invested $12 million in strategic funding into the Israeli startup. The investment will help to improve the company’s imaging analytics engine and the funding will be used to create neural networks and diagnostic algorithms. Zebra Medical Vision is already showing it has potential to be incredibly valuable to healthcare organizations, with the platform already having been validated in hundreds of thousands of cases.
Intermountain Chief Financial Officer Bert Zimmerli said “When we researched this field and the various technologies available, the Zebra platform approach stood out in its proven ability to digest millions of imaging files and create new algorithms rapidly.”