Shahid Akhter, editor, ETHealthworld, spoke to Ajit Patil, Co-founder, DeepTek, to find out about the transformation in radiology through deep learning that has the power to enhance image analysis and reduce turnaround time.
What challenges and opportunities do you see in AI and radiology?
AI in radiology has the potential to transform workflows and improve patient care. Radiology is largely about analyzing images to identify pathologies where as AI technology is especially powerful in image analytics. The marriage of the two is proving to create large global opportunities.
Given the business potential, over the last decade more than 100 global startups have been funded in this space . Radiology is very wide space with different types of scanning machines referred modalities, different body organs and multiple pathologies in each organ. And these startups are independently working, trying to cover various areas within this space.
A few years back, it was thought that AI could make Radiology autonomous. And there was a lot of concern and fear regards this. With the passage of time, it has become clear that AI will be only an assistive tool for Radiologist. AI will help radiologists improve productivity, improve quality, reduce turnaround time, reduce errors, reduce fatigue, and help radiologists have a better work-life balance.
There are several areas where AI can transform radiology workflows. AI can be lifesaving in emergency departments where timely identification of underlying issues is critical . In these critical hours AI can support expert in quick decisions making and help save lives.
Public health screening is another area where AI is enabling transformation. Several million people die of Tuberculosis each year and India has the largest burden of tuberculosis globally. AI can read Chest X ray to instantaneously identify TB suspects – helping screen people in a very cost effective and speedy way. These are few of the multiple application of AI in radiology.
What is the impact of Deep Learning Solutions on this industry?
It was in the year 2000 that deep learning solutions started having an impact on the industry. It was Stanford University that brought in the early algorithms that analysed chest X-rays. And since then, a lot of evolution has happened. Now we have deep learning algorithms to analyses not only X rays, but also cross-sectional images like CT scans, MRIs, PETs and others. Also, over the period, algorithms have evolved to become more matured and more robust. Also, regulatory approval mechanisms for authorizing use of AI algorithms in clinical practices have started to take shape and we are seeing early approvals coming through.
What are the current deployments of DeepTek platforms?
DeepTek is amongst very few Radiology AI startups which has successfully established commercial adoption of AI technology in clinical practice – creating clear and quantifiable value for patients, hospitals, and radiologists. Currently it has 350+ customers spread across India, Singapore, Japan and the APAC region.
Very recently we bagged a large and a prestigious engagement in the APAC region. As a part of the national AI Strategy our platform ‘Augmento’ is being rolled out across several public hospitals. Augmento is one of its kind solutions which help deploy AI solutions in a responsible way, seamlessly into existing radiology workflows.
We are fortunate to have strong investor support from Tata Capital Healthcare Fund, NTT DATA Japan and quite a few other large global firms. Besides strategic equity partners we also have go-to-market partnerships with medical imaging device makers.
What are the market opportunities for DeepTek?
With global customers, global partners, and a strong team of 120 plus member I believe we have set a solid foundation. Our solutions have been extensively used in several hundred hospitals and medical imaging centers and also by government public healthcare institutes.
Our long terms vision is to see how we can leverage technology to make radiology more accessible, affordable, accurate and in turn deliver solid improvement in patient care. A large global market opportunity is unfolding in Radiology AI and we aspire to be amongst the leading players in this space.