Hundreds of individual images, whose rapid analysis decides on life and death. It may sound dramatic, but the huge amounts of data actually confront physicians in radiological diagnostics with major challenges every day - and human lives can depend on them. "Repetitive tasks cost doctors valuable time that could be used much more effectively and purposefully elsewhere," explains Primarius Thomas Kau, head of radiology at Villach Regional Hospital. This was the motivation for him to create the "AICI Forum", the interdisciplinary medical congress on the subject of artificial intelligence (AI). After last year's success, around 300 international participants have registered for the second edition of this year's digital event: "AI can filter and pre-select those images that reveal remarkable things. This allows physicians more time for concentrated diagnosis and patient-related activities. The 'AICI' forum demonstrates these innovative possibilities of AI, whose potential can revolutionize diagnostics," says Kau. Indicators for this finding are above all an internationally acclaimed premiere at the KABEG sites in Klagenfurt, Villach and Wolfsberg: For a few months now, three AI-based algorithms have been used in computer tomography (CT) diagnostics in the three hospitals. In concrete terms, artificial intelligence checks whether there is bleeding in the brain, a pulmonary embolism or a rib fracture, for example. "We appreciate the secondary view, especially in situations where things have to happen quickly, particularly in the emergency room," emphasizes the Primarius. The extensive test phase has shown "that the AI overlooks very little, but in some instances gives false positive assessments," says the chief physician, who emphasizes: "Man and machine achieve the greatest accuracy by working together. The interaction between the AI and the physician therefore remains crucial". According to Kau, the AI-based project is soon to be extended to cancer diagnostics, and corresponding evaluations have already been initiated.
High Market Potential for Artificial Intelligence
Currently, the technologies used in Carinthia still originate from the Israeli "MedTech-Hub" Tel-Aviv. If it´s up to HTS, however, domestic developments will soon be increasingly finding their way into hospitals: "Artificial intelligence is one of the central drivers of innovation in medical technology. Our clinical and economic partners must address the topic of artificial intelligence even more closely in order to secure our healthcare system in the long term. This is why we have defined this topic as one of our strategic focus areas," explains HTS Managing Director Johann Harer, who is co-responsible for implementing the congress.
In practical terms, the Styrian start-up medaia, for example, has launched "SkinScreener", an app for rapid assessment of the risk of skin cancer. KML Vision analyses tissue images with the help of AI and Leftshift One has developed generic models for image processing in medical technology. "These examples show the high innovation strength of the Styrian developments. Now it is central to increase the acceptance for artificial intelligence among physicians, the insurance companies and also the patients. This is the only way to achieve resounding success," emphasizes Harer. In long term, the development towards a "digital twin" would proceed, emphasizes the HTS managing director: medical doctors, but also the data collected - for example by fitness trackers & Co. - would recreate a detailed digital image of the patient on the computer as far as possible. "The digital twin makes it possible to simulate the consequences of an operation or the use of certain drugs on the individual human organism, to determine the chances of success and risks of a treatment and to estimate the healing process - all with the help of artificial intelligence," explains Harer.
About the "AICI Forum"
The "AICI Forum" ( short for artificial intelligence in clinical imaging) is an interdisciplinary event that focuses on solutions for AI-based imaging diagnostics, their clinical application, safety and the professional challenges of this kind of technology. The aim is to connect the various players in the healthcare system and to encourage them to exchange information on a common information basis.