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AI-Integrated POC Ultrasound Devices Significantly Improve Competency among Novice Users

By MedImaging International staff writers
Posted on 12 Jun 2023
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Image: Torso-One Probe uses phased array technology to provide imaging for cardiology and abdominal scanning (Photo courtesy of EchoNous)
Image: Torso-One Probe uses phased array technology to provide imaging for cardiology and abdominal scanning (Photo courtesy of EchoNous)

A pioneering study has discovered that incorporating artificial intelligence (AI) into ultrasound devices can significantly boost the proficiency of novice ultrasound users, potentially improving patient care. The results of this study offer exciting prospects for the potential applications of AI in transforming medical imaging and diagnostics.

The study, led by researchers at Stanford Medicine (Stanford, CA, USA) assessed the impact of AI-empowered point-of-care ultrasound (POCUS) devices on trainees with minimal POCUS experience. Participants were split into two groups, with one using the AI-integrated device, Kosmos Torso One from EchoNous (Redmond, WA, USA), while the other group utilized a device devoid of AI capabilities. Over two weeks, the trainees used the designated devices for patient care. The AI-enabled Kosmos offered automatic cardiac structure labeling, suggestions for ideal probe placement, grading of diagnostic image quality, and automated ejection fraction computations. The main outcome gauged was the time taken to capture a specific cardiac image, with secondary outcomes including image quality, accurate pathology identification, and participant attitudes.

The study demonstrated remarkable results. Upon follow-up reassessment, the group using the AI-integrated Kosmos showed quicker scanning times, superior image quality scores, and improved identification of reduced systolic function compared to the group using the device without AI. These findings suggest that an AI-powered POCUS device like Kosmos can enhance image acquisition and interpretation by novices, potentially boosting diagnostic precision and patient outcomes. The study emphasizes how AI could be particularly beneficial in training healthcare professionals. In the case of devices like ultrasound, which require comprehensive training, AI can aid learners by offering real-time guidance for optimal use, automating complicated and time-consuming measurements, and providing instant feedback on quality standards. In addition to its role in training assistance, EchoNous aims to leverage AI to streamline workflows, minimize human variability, and enhance accuracy across multiple medical specialties.

"We are excited to see our vision for AI assistance in handheld ultrasound validated by Dr. Kumar's research," said Graham Cox, CEO at EchoNous. "As a user-dependent imaging modality, the biggest barrier to point-of-care ultrasound adoption has always been related to training. We are encouraged to see evidence that our AI on Kosmos shows potential to close that gap."

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