By Ohad Arazi, CEO, Zebra Medical Vision
2020 will have far-reaching consequences across industries, not least of all healthcare. Our industry is on the frontlines of one of the most pivotal years in recent history. As such, healthtech leaders are uniquely positioned to tackle the challenges it presents head on, and medical imaging is at the forefront.
As our current pandemic accelerates the digitization and automation of various healthcare processes, it also necessitates a shift in healthcare approach, and one that Zebra Medical Vision is spearheading in the medical imaging space. As Zebra Med closes out 2020 and welcomes 2021, we are seizing the opportunity to leverage cutting-edge artificial intelligence technology to transform patient care .
After years of promise, the imaging AI domain is poised to unlock value-based healthcare by improving outcomes and multiplying downstream value. What does that actually mean, in practice?
Improving patient outcomes is the goal, always
The idea is to shift from a focus on the algorithms that analyze data to a holistic solution approach, adding workflow beneficial depth to our strong set of FDA-cleared products. In order for imaging AI to become part of the standard of care, the advanced algorithms and IT infrastructure must first be seamlessly integrated into clinical workflow across the industry in a non disruptive manner. At the end of the day, AI-driven healthcare isn’t just about a sophisticated, automated interpretation of a single image. It’s about integrating AI based findings into total-patient care to plan care and improving outcomes for real people. It’s the outcome that matters most.
Prevention is better than cure
“Prevention is better than cure.” It’s a quote often attributed to the Dutch philosopher Desiderius Erasmus, who lived in the late 15th to early 16th centuries. Today, the phrase stands as a fundamental principle of modern health care, and one that guides Zebra Med in its goal of advancing patient care globally.
Zebra Med observed that solutions for triage, or the prioritization of patient care upon arrival to the hospital, in radiology aren’t enough to address the massive global caseload, especially when there is a shortage of radiologists. The COVID-19 pandemic, too, is creating a great bottleneck of non-COVID cases sidelined to prioritize patients suffering from the novel coronavirus.
As such, Zebra Med is placing an emphasis on population-health solutions going into the new year. Through this approach, we help screen large-scale populations for chronic diseases, such as Osteoporosis and Coronary Artery disease, by using existing medical images, without calling in patients or ordering additional tests. A population health program can then address these findings to enable more timely patient management and clinical interventions that potentially can avert serious problems for patients, or lessen their impact.
Identifying previously undiagnosed or underdiagnosed conditions can dramatically improve patient morbidity and mortality. It also can significantly increase economic value, considering that U.S. alone spends $ 3.5 trillion on caring for patients with chronic diseases.
One of the great examples of the patient and economical value of population-health solutions in scale are demonstrated through our deployment with Clalit, the 2nd largest HMO company in the world, as well as with the U.S.-based Intermountain Healthcare.
Most recently, Zebra Med and Scottish digital transformation consultancy Storm ID won a UK-Israel research and development grant with a proposal for a revolutionary, machine learning-driven model for early detection and prevention of osteoporosis to improve patient care and reduce healthcare costs. The collaboration will involve close engagement with clinical teams in NHS Greater Glasgow and Clyde and Assuta Medical Centers.
Also in the UK’s NHS, an Oxford University Study found our technology boosts the detection rate of vertebral compression fractures from 50 percent to over 90 percent as published in Nature Medicine Furthermore, patients treated and given the proper medication for osteoporosis are 25 percent less likely to actually fracture their hip, a strong morbidity and mortality indicator.
The path ahead
In light of our focus on population-health , Zebra Med is the enterprise choice going into 2021, especially during the COVID era as we help large healthcare systems adopt AI to ease the bottleneck and bring better patient care. We also bring the largest diversified AI medical imaging portfolio (7 FDA clearances) to the table, developing products with millions of real world medical images so they can operate robustly in a large-scale environment. Another reason large healthcare systems choose Zebra Med every day is the expansion of our AI capabilities into new healthcare segments such as Orthopedics, helping large populations improve wellbeing with greater access to affordable, reimbursable healthcare services.
Our AI medical-imaging solutions change the medical imaging game entirely, accelerating the technological revolution at a pace previously unimaginable. Through the shift away from acute case identification and toward population-health screening, the days in which doctors can treat patients based on condition, rather than symptoms, is fast approaching, and Zebra Med is at the helm of the change. Our current reality has been dubbed “the new normal”, and Zebra-Med leads the charge to tame it with AI. Through Zebra Med, 2021 will be a year of proactive, rather than reactive, medicine.