The potential uses of computer vision in healthcare are growing. However, today the applications mostly fall into one of three major categories:
1) Diagnostic and Clinical Imaging
Significant progress in AI and computer vision in the medical industry results in faster and more accurate diagnoses. An expanding choice of powerful tools supported by machine learning can automate the segmentation, tagging, and classification of millions of images from X-rays, CT scans, and MRIs generated every year. In addition, these systems can identify trends across multiple images or groups of images that are not always easily identifiable by medical professionals.
Annotating data from X-rays, ultrasounds, CT scans, and MRIs helps medical professionals gain insight into patients’ physical condition, predict when a disease will develop and when appropriate treatment will be needed.
Data labeling and annotation of medical images are helping reduce time spent on unnecessary diagnostic procedures and providing healthcare professionals with the means to make more accurate diagnoses and administer more effective treatments.
Over the next decade, machine learning will transform how medical images are used by reducing errors, improving outcomes, and lowering costs.
When done in the aggregate, using well-structured CV training data can help medical professionals predict the emergence of early diseases and develop treatment plans that help avoid serious medical conditions developing in specific patients.
One specific challenge to quality data annotation or labeling is the nuance of properly annotating 2-D and 3-D medical images that contain multiple layers and transparencies. For example, a chest X-ray or MRI requires viewing and analyzing multiple layers of internal organs. Done properly, data annotation combined with computer vision and machine learning can visually analyze interactive 3-D models to make more accurate medical diagnoses and provide earlier detection of specific diseases.
Companies to Watch in Diagnostic and Clinical Imaging
- Intelerad Medical Systems - A scalable medical imaging platform connects clinicians to a powerful imaging ecosystem.
- Tempus - Data-driven precision medicine with the practical application of AI in healthcare.
- Sema4 - A patient-centered health intelligence company dedicated to advancing healthcare through data-driven insights.
- LungLife AI - Transforming lung cancer diagnosis and management through AI-enabled analysis of biomarkers in blood.
2) Healthcare Robotics and Devices
Robotics is rapidly transforming healthcare. In the operating room, robots support minimally invasive procedures. In clinical settings, fueled by the onset of COVID-19, the use of robotics gained wider traction by helping keep patients and medical professionals safer by performing tasks to help reduce exposure. For example, Intuitive Surgery’s Da Vinci robotic system is capable of performing a multitude of challenging surgical procedures remotely.
CV-enabled robots capture thousands of images in the operating room or medical offices. By annotating high-definition 3-D images and videos, AI-enabled robots can help surgeons improve techniques by guiding them to the specific area of the body that needs attention while avoiding damaging other nerves, muscles, and organs.
Surgical robots require the highest quality computer vision technology. It is essential that the annotations used to train models are spot on to ensure patient safety and positive post-op health outcomes. In some cases, with the right model and training data feeding it, it is even possible to develop robotic surgical techniques that assist in the decision-making processes.
Companies to Watch in Healthcare Robotics and Devices
- Arterys - Extracts actionable insights from medical images to add clinical value, improve diagnostic decision making, efficiency, and productivity.
- Caresyntax - Technology to make surgery smarter and safer, enabled by IoT, data analytics, and AI.
- Fortive - A provider of essential technologies for connected workflow solutions across a range of attractive end-markets.
- Vicarious Surgical - Enhancing the ability of surgeons and expanding worldwide access to high-quality care through the use of surgical robotics.
3) Medical AI Research and Development
Developing a new procedure or delivering a new device or pharmaceutical product to market requires massive amounts of data to receive approval from regulatory bodies. Since over 90% of all medical data generated today are images, the right data labeling solution can get these products and treatments to market faster. In addition, companies researching biotechnology for drug discovery, understanding the impact of lifestyle choices and mental health on chronic conditions, and developing new mRNA vaccines as quickly as was done for COVID-19 benefit from annotating millions of computer-generated images.
Companies to Watch in Medical AI Research and Development
- Recursion - A clinical-stage biotechnology company decoding biology by integrating technological innovations.
- Vida - Modernizing lung and respiratory care by empowering healthcare organizations and physicians.
- Prevencio - Revolutionizing blood tests for cardiovascular disease.
- Envisagenics - Artificial Intelligence, high-performance computing, and RNA sequencing data to find cures faster than ever before.