Hackensack Meridian Health, New Jersey's largest and most comprehensive health network, is pleased to announce that the Center for Discovery and Innovation (CDI) has created a test to dramatically reduce the time it takes for diagnosing COVID-19. This is a major advance that will benefit patients, create a more effective triage system in hospitals and better control the spread of disease.
"Our mission at Hackensack Meridian Health is to transform health care and this new rapid test does precisely that," said Robert C. Garrett, FACHE, chief executive officer of Hackensack Meridian Health.
New test reduces wait time for a diagnosis from days to just hours as the number of COVID-19 cases grow.
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"We are all proud to provide this game-changing diagnostic tool which will ultimately benefit communities far beyond New Jersey. I applaud the efforts of the CDI in achieving this breakthrough.''
"AI can help us tap into our medical wisdom, which at the moment is just sitting in archives," said Hamid Tizhoosh, director of the Laboratory for Knowledge Inference in Medical Image Analysis (KIMIA Lab) at Waterloo. "When you use AI like this, its performance is astounding."
The system utilizes AI to search digital images of biopsies from confirmed cancer cases for those most similar to a new digital image in an undiagnosed case.
Based on the known, verified findings of the majority of similar images, the system recommends a diagnosis for the new case.
Conducted over a four-month period using high-performance computers and data storage, the tests achieved accurate diagnoses for everything from melanoma to prostate cancer.
"We showed it is possible using this approach to get incredibly encouraging results if you have access to a large archive," said Tizhoosh. "It is like putting many, many pathologists in a virtual room together and having them reach consensus."
The archive used in the study, part of a five-year project backed by $3.2 million in funding from the Ontario government, was provided by the National Cancer Institute in the United States.
More work is needed to analyze the findings and refine the system, but Tizhoosh said the results so far demonstrate it has potential as a screening tool to both speed up and improve the accuracy of cancer diagnoses by pathologists.
And in the developing world, it could save lives by enabling remote access to inexpensive diagnosis.
"This technology could be a blessing in places where there simply aren't enough specialists," Tizhoosh said. "One could just send an image attached to an email and get a report back."
MEDICA-tradefair.com; Source: Hackensack Meridian Health