Improving colon cancer screening with artificial intelligence

Improving colon cancer screening with artificial intelligence

Whether it’s a movie suggestion or an online chat with a virtual assistant like Alexa or Siri to perform tasks or answer queries, artificial intelligence (AI) is weaving its way into our lives in a big way.

In health care, artificial intelligence (AI) is embedded in new technology like the GI Genius, a computer-aided system that works alongside medical teams to improve the overall accuracy of colonoscopies and increase the likelihood of detecting and removing precancerous lesions at an early stage.

To ensure colonoscopy patients have access to this advanced early detection and screening, Fraser Health is investing $1.2 million to purchase and install the GI Genius at 12 sites: Abbotsford Regional Hospital, Burnaby Hospital, Chilliwack General Hospital, Delta Hospital, Eagle Ridge Hospital, Langley Memorial Hospital, Peach Arch Hospital, Royal Columbian Hospital, Ridge Meadows Hospital, Surrey Memorial Hospital, Mission Memorial Hospital and Jim Pattison Outpatient Care and Surgical Centre.

“This is a huge benefit for our patients,” says Dr. Scott Cowie, surgeon, Langley Memorial Hospital. “By detecting and treating polyps early, we’re reducing the risk of missed findings and improving the quality of life for people in our region.”

The GI Genius leverages artificial intelligence to more accurately detect pre-cancerous polyps that form in the intestinal tract and can put people at greater risk for colorectal cancer. The system works with existing technology to provide real-time information that a doctor or endoscopist can use to treat the patient.

The physical equipment resembles a black box with the “genie” being able to “see” polyps or lesions that the human eye might miss.

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“The AI system gives us a second set of eyes in the room, with a computer system looking at digital images in real time and drawing the endoscopy team’s attention to something that may be abnormal,” adds Dr. Cowie. “You have an objective observer on your shoulder all the time, not tired, pointing out something that may be of concern.”


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