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GE launches AI suite for detecting COVID-19 from X-ray scans

by John R. Fischer, Senior Reporter | June 23, 2020
Artificial Intelligence X-Ray
GE Healthcare's Thoracic Care Suite can identify signs of COVID-19, Tuberculosis, or lung nodules from X-rays scans.
GE Healthcare launched a collection of eight AI tools this month designed to identify potential signs of COVID-19 in X-ray scans.

Known together as the Thoracic Care Suite, the algorithms offered by the solution flag abnormalities for review, including pneumonia, which may indicate the presence of COVID-19. The group can also can be used to detect tuberculosis, lung nodules, and other radiological findings. The tools were designed by Lunit Insight CXR, as part of a collaboration with GE.

"With approximately 1.44 billion chest x-ray exams taking place each year, radiologists are overwhelmed, especially as they may be looking for multiple indications per exam," Katelyn Nye, general manger of global mobile radiography & artificial intelligence, told HCB News. "Thoracic Care Suite provides much needed support by automatically analyzing images for the presence of pneumonia indicative of COVID-19 – as well as seven additional chest x-ray abnormalities – and providing much needed support to help quickly identify high-risk cases as well as monitor patients' respiratory symptoms."

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Thoracic Care Suite can use AI to detect pneumonia, tuberculosis, atelectasis, calcification, cardiomegaly, fibrosis, mediastinal widening, lung nodules, and pleural effusion. Flagged reports are sent to the PACS system where radiologists can quickly find the abnormality score for each of the eight possible abnormalities, an image overlay, and a written location description to expedite diagnosis and treatment.

The solution carries a 97-99% accuracy rate (Area Under the Curve) that enables it to detect findings within seconds and allows radiologists to quickly identify high-risk cases and monitor patients showing progression and regression of mild respiratory symptoms. Results in one study showed a 34% reduction in reading time per case.

The partnership between GE and Lunit is one of the first of its kind to bring commercially available AI products from a medical AI startup to an existing X-ray equipment manufacturer, according to both companies.

"The global pandemic has emphasized the need for creative solutions amidst the most modern disease threats," said Nye. "By harnessing the power of data, analytics, AI and connectivity, we help ensure our clinicians and partners on the front lines have the equipment they need to quickly diagnose and effectively treat patients. As such, GE Healthcare is continuing to advance intelligent health and providing innovative technologies."

Thoracic Care Suite is now available to thousands of providers who use GE’s Healthcare fixed, mobile and R&F X-ray systems worldwide. It can be deployed in the market or in the hospital without an annual fee and does not require providers to take part in any enterprise IT projects to support its installation.

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