Perceptra and Siriraj join forces to aid radiologist shortage with new AI

Thailand’s top medical school, Faculty of Medicine Siriraj Hospital, Mahidol University, signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) with leading AI company, Perceptra, to co-develop a chest x-ray interpretation and triage tool named “Inspectra” to assist doctors and augment the experience of patient care as a whole.

The Ministry of Public Health reveals that, out of the top 10 causes of death among Thai people, three are thorax diseases, namely lung cancer, pneumonitis, and tuberculosis. Moreover, the majority of patients with these diseases are first diagnosed only when it is already too late to cure. This fact is especially disheartening in light that these diseases can be effectively detected from chest x-ray—a safe, economic, and convenient screening method. Radiologist interpretation of x-ray images is the most accurate way to diagnose lung diseases, but due to medical personnel shortage and their clustering in large cities, this cannot be done easily in many cases. 

Increasing the number of radiologists would improve this situation, but it takes more than 10 years and considerable cost to train a radiologist. Alternatively, this critical gap in patient care can be addressed right away by leveraging the advantages of AI technology to empower existing Radiologists. Inspectra’s AI Radiologist system is trained using a well-curated data set consisting of half a million chest x-rays. Powerful computing hardware combined with recent advances in machine learning techniques allow Inspectra to process this large set and produce a high-performing diagnostic system that can be broadly deployed at many hospitals throughout the region to reduce the chances of a misdiagnosis. By centralizing the system design, doctors can access Inspectra services easily via a web application at minimal cost while maintaining high standards. 

“This partnership agreement is a good starting point for a collaboration that blends medical expertise with technology innovation” commented Supitchaya Phupisut of Perceptra.“The industry pain point is very clear: shortages of medical personnel in radiology and other areas of practice is critical in Thailand and Southeast Asian countries. Partnership with the domain expert team at Siriraj gives not only deeper industry insights, but also sets a standard for patient care. With these solutions, we believe we can solve this scarcity of accessibility to detect abnormalities early and save lives while also reducing cost of treatment,” added Supitchaya Phupisut.

The company projects that the Inspectra service will be available to public hospitals, private hospitals, and mobile check-up service providers early in 2020. Perceptra thinks that this alliance between Siriraj and Perceptra is only the beginning of pursuits supporting the government initiative to make Thailand an international medical hub. Moreover, this collaboration is likely to expand to other use cases in the near future to benefit the medical well-being of Thai citizens.


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