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Image-Reading System Helps Control COVID-19 Epidemic

By MedImaging International staff writers
Posted on 09 Mar 2020
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Image: A smart image-reading system generates rapid analyses in epidemic areas (Photo courtesy of Ping An Smart Healthcare)
Image: A smart image-reading system generates rapid analyses in epidemic areas (Photo courtesy of Ping An Smart Healthcare)
An artificial intelligence (AI) based image-reading system could provide earlier diagnosis and treatment of suspected coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) patients.

The Ping An Smart Healthcare (SHENZHEN, China) COVID-19 smart image-reading system uses an AI engine to conduct a comparative analysis of multiple computerized tomography (CT) scan images of the same patient in order to measure changes in lesions. The smart AI image-reading system also supports remote imaging by medical professionals outside the epidemic areas, helping to track the development of the disease. Medical institutions that require COVID-19 smart image-reading services can gain access on public or private cloud platforms or on premises.

Ping An Smart Healthcare is making the software available for use to nearly 800 million people in more than 70 cities in China and Southeast Asia affiliated with the company. The smart image-reading system can also be quickly adapted to work directly with CT equipment (with the help of the manufacturers) to assist diagnosing the COVID-19 outbreak. On the individual level, it can be used to evaluate treatment and prognosis of infected patients, assisting doctors to diagnose, triage, and evaluate COVID-19 patients swiftly and effectively.

"Since its launch, the smart image-reading system has provided services to more than 1,500 medical institutions. More than 5,000 patients have received smart image-reading services for free. The system can generate smart analysis results in around 15 seconds, with an accuracy rate above 90%,” said Geoff Kau, co-president and chief strategy officer of Ping An Smart City. “By comparison, it usually takes radiologists about 15 minutes to read the CT images of a patient suspected of contracting COVID-19.”

“Patients with COVID-19 need multiple CT scans during the treatment. Comparing multiple images is a time-consuming task and it cannot be accurately completed manually,” said Xiao Jing, MD, chief scientist of Ping An. “Utilizing Ping An Smart Healthcare's COVID-19 smart image-reading system, it can effectively improve the diagnostic accuracy and the doctor's image-reading efficiency.”

COVID-19 typically manifests on CT with bilateral ground-glass and consolidative pulmonary opacities. Nodular opacities, crazy-paving pattern, and a peripheral distribution of disease may be additional features helpful in early diagnosis. On the other hand, lung cavitation, discrete pulmonary nodules, pleural effusions, and lymphadenopathy are characteristically absent.

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