How AI is Helping Detect Disease

Saturday, April 11, 2020

Dr. Rauofi Rokai,a pathologist at Mazar-e Sharif Hospital in Afghanistan, has been an integral part of the EPOS team that rehabilitated the Hospital and then also carried out the KfW-funded Telemedicine project in northern Afghanistan. Together with Dr. Rokai and partners, EPOS developed a concept that facilitated telemedicine based breast cancer diagnostics.

In a recent interview, Dr. Rokai endorsed the speed and efficiency of this technology which has helped to increase the annual number of breast cancer diagnoses and ultimately led to more women being examined and more cases being detected at an early stage. EPOS, together with partners iPath, IVeH, deepkapha and myCare2x, went a step further to include a proof of concept for using Artifical Intelligence (AI) in the telemedicine system. An algorithm facilitated the fast and efficient diagnosis of breast cancers using the fine needle aspiration and cytology slides of the suspected patients. This tool was successfully tested by Dr. Rokai in his clinic in Mazar-e-Sharif under the expert supervision of three renowned histopathologists from the iPath network.

Now, EPOS together with partners myCare2x, iPath and IVeH, has further developed an interface through which it is possible to connect to any existing AI algorithm that is ready for medical use. These may be algorithms trained on radiology images, skin images, histopathology images, retina scan images, EEGs, radiology images etc. The basic system is already in use in over 75 healthcare facilities spread across a number of countries in Europe, Asia and Africa.

Joachim Mollin, one of the core team members and a Medical IT Expert / Developer, underlines the impact of this development: ‘It is now possible to scale up our integrated HMIS-EMR-Telemedicine-AI modules at any level of care, from primary to tertiary. We are currently linking up our system to an already trained algorithm to differentiate between thoracic X-Rays of Covid-19 induced and other pneumonias. This will substantially help to better face the current pandemic.’

The recent interview with Dr. Rokai, highlighting the breast cancer diagnostics work he is performing, appeared in the April 2020 edition of “FC”,  KfW´s financial cooperation magazine.