Detecting cancer — one of the deadliest diseases — is not an exact science.
But, artificial intelligence is helping doctors in China make more accurate cancer diagnoses.
As CGTN’s Frances Kuo reports, it’s part of an expanding industry in the country.
The Shenzhen No. 6 People’s Hospital in southern China is marking a milestone: doctors are getting a hand from artificial intelligence.
The new system is helping diagnose one of the deadliest of all cancers – esophageal cancer.
Doctors first take images of the patient’s esophagus. Then, the AI system does its part.
“For example, we have 50 images,” explained Dr. Cheng Chunsheng of the Shenzhen No. 6 People’s Hospital. “The AI system will sort them and select pictures showing a high possibility of cancer. We only need to check five selected images for a diagnosis.”
The images are compared to those in a database containing diagnostic information from hospitals across the country.
“AI is able to learn from numerous amounts of data, that’s what humans can’t do,” said Zhou Xuan, Senior Product Director of Tencent’s Internet Plus Partnership.
Shenzhen is one of the first hospitals trying out this system for clinical testing.
“Now the accuracy of early detection of esophageal cancer has reached 90 percent, roughly the same level of diagnosis made by human doctors,” said Luo Xudong, President of the Shenzhen No. 6 People’s Hospital.
The system began trial use in other Chinese hospitals in June 2017. Since the launch, it’s served 400,000 patients. The system was developed by Chinese internet giant, Tencent.
It joins Alibaba as well as smaller start-ups in developing AI technology in healthcare.
It’s a booming industry – the International Data Corporation predicts China’s market for AI healthcare services will reach $930 million in 2022.
It’s all part of China’s plan to build a national platform for AI diagnostic medical imaging.
The goals are to improve accuracy and efficiency in China’s healthcare system, particularly as China struggles with a doctor shortage.
As for the AI system in Shenzhen and other hospitals like it, the hope is that it can be made available to most remote areas.
And, in the future, help speed diagnoses for all of China’s deadliest cancers.
Dr. Joel Selanikio discusses fusion of artifical intelligence, medicine
Diagnosing cancer is not an exact science, but doctors in China are getting some help doing so from artificial intelligence. It’s part of a push to give AI a bigger role in the healthcare system. Dr. Joel Selanikio, CEO and co-founder of mobile data collection and messaging software system Magpi, discusses the infusion of AI technology and medicine with CGTN’s Mike Walter.