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Verily’s India project reveals the work of applying AI to real-world clinical care

Verily’s India project reveals the work of applying AI to real-world clinical care

A new eye disease screening tool wasn’t conceived by an eye doctor, or any physician for that matter, but by a research scientist at Google with an interest in .

SwissCognitiveA new eye disease screening tool wasn’t conceived by an eye doctor, or any physician for that matter, but by a research scientist at Google with an interest in .

That scientist, Varun Gulshan, was looking for a medical or science project that might ideally help people in his home country of India.

But since no one on the Google team had any experience creating medical devices, turning the model into an actual medical device required turning the project over to Verily, Alphabet’s healthcare and life sciences research arm.

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Three years later, eye doctors at Aravind Eye Hospital in Madurai, India, are using that algorithm to screen patients for diabetic retinopathy, with the aim of using technology to fill gaps in patient access to eye doctors. By integrating the algorithm into their screening process, hospital physicians have more time to work closely with patients on treatment while increasing the number of screenings that can be performed.

The real-world clinical use of the -enabled screening tool—essentially an algorithm trained to quickly interpret retinal scans for signs of disease—marks an important step in taking from research to the patient bedside. And it’s an example of Verily’s quietly expanding footprint in the world of healthcare and its ambitions to lead the industry in overcoming challenges that have so far stymied the broader use of in clinical care.

“I think our unique role here is taking and understanding what’s currently going on with health conditions, but then saying, what new tools could be used? I think the diabetic retinopathy program is a great example of that,” Jessica Mega, M.D., chief medical and scientific officer at Verily, told FierceHealthcare.[…]

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