INSTANT triage of patients with suspected COVID-19 may be achieved with artificial intelligence (AI)-based chest X-ray technology developed by a UK-based company.
The red dot® algorithm developed by behold.ai (London, UK) will be supplied to a network of 71 hospitals in India, and a selection of government-run hospitals, and may be able to help radiologists to provide immediate information about patients with suspected COVID-19. In 30 seconds, the algorithm is able to “rapidly diagnose chest X-rays as ‘normal’ or ‘abnormal’ accurately,” explained Mr Simon Rasalingham, chairman and chief executive of behold.ai. The speed with which these chest X-rays can be evaluated could lead to faster diagnoses and more appropriate allocation of hospital resources in healthcare systems.
The fast production of results supplied by the algorithm confers a greater benefit over processes carried out by humans where time is of the essence and resources are already limited. Throughout the pandemic, healthcare systems have been working to ensure reports generated by radiologists are immediate, and increasingly rapid, accurate, and accessible, all of which are possible with the instant triage offered by the new algorithm.
The algorithm has now been approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and the AI technology will be implemented in the USA towards the end of this year. In India, the roll-out of the technology in government-run hospitals as well as the network of 71 hospitals means the operation is the world’s largest deployment of a radiology-based AI diagnostic solution for COVID-19. Once the Indian government has eased some of its lockdown measures, the AI technology is expected to be used. Rasalingham concluded on the potential of the service: “If successful, this infinitely scalable pilot programme could make a significant difference to hospitals across India and the rest of the world struggling to manage the COVID-19 pandemic.”