Medical and tech researchers from Intermountain Healthcare and Stanford University say 10 seconds is about how quickly it took a new system they studied that utilizes artificial intelligence
to accurately identify key findings in chest X-rays
of patients in the emergency department suspected of having pneumonia
The new study found that those ultra-quick findings may enable physicians reading X-rays
to accurately confirm a pneumonia
diagnosis significantly faster than current clinical practice, enabling treatment to start sooner, which is vital for severely ill patients who're suffering from pneumonia
Medical and tech researchers from Intermountain and Stanford studied the CheXpert system, an automated chest X-ray
interpretation model developed at Stanford University that utilizes artificial intelligence
, to review X-ray
images taken at a number of emergency departments at Intermountain hospitals throughout Utah.
The researchers found the CheXpert system identified key findings in X-rays
very accurately with high agreement to a consensus of three radiologists in about 10 seconds, which significantly outperforms current clinical practice.
Dr Nathan C. Dean, MD, principal investigator of the study, and section chief of pulmonary and critical care medicine at Intermountain Medical Center in Salt Lake City told Thailand Medical
News, "CheXpert is going to be faster and as accurate as radiologists viewing the studies. It's an exciting new way of thinking about diagnosing and treating patients to provide the very best care possible."
based CheXpert model was developed by the Stanford Machine Learning Group, which used 188,000 chest imaging studies to create a model that can determine what is and is not pneumonia on an X-ray
. These images were taken from the Stanford Medical Center in Palo Alto, California.
Since patient populations are different per geographic locations, CheXpert was then fine-tuned for Utah by reading an additional 6,973 images from Intermountain emergency departments.
Dr Jeremy Irvin, a Ph.D. student at Stanford, and member of the research team said, "We've been developing a deep learning algorithm
that can automatically detect pneumonia and related findings in chest X-rays. In this initial study, we've demonstrated the algorithm'
s potential by validating it on patients in the emergency departments at Intermountain Healthcare. Our hope is that the algorithm can improve the quality of pneumonia care at Intermountain, from improving diagnostic accuracy to reducing time to diagnosis."
Typically,in an emergency department setting, Dr. Dean explained, patients suspected of having pneumonia
get a chest X-ray
. While creating those images is a quick process, having them read can be time consuming since those X-rays
go into a line with other images to be interpreted by radiologists. That process can take to 20 minutes or more, which means potential delays in the start of antibiotics for very sick pneumonia
Currently at the Intermountain emergency departments, radiology reports are run through the Cerner Natural Language Processing (NLP), which is a support tool currently used to get needed information from the radiologist report. NLP then feeds the information into ePNa, an electronic clinical decision support tool part of usual pneumonia
care at Intermountain.For most emergency departments where ePNa is not available, the CheXpert model could provide the information from chest X-rays
directly to clinicians, said Dr. Dean."Using the CheXpert system, we found the interpretation time was very swift and the accuracy of the report to be very high," he added.
In this study, Intermountain radiologists categorized chest images from 461 Intermountain patients as being "likely," "likely-uncertain," "unlikely-uncertain," or "unlikely" to have pneumonia
. They also identified images they believed showed pneumonia in multiple parts of the lungs, and whether these patients had parapneumonic effusion, which is fluid build-up between the lungs and chest cavity.
The medical radiologists differed from each other in their categorizations in more than half of patients, as has been commonly shown in prior studies. The CheXpert model performance on the same images was comparable to the radiologists.
The researchers found that the CheXpert model outperformed the current system of using a radiologist to create radiology reports for all key pneumonia
findings, plus NLP. It also did so in less than 10 seconds, compared to the 20 minutes to hours from NLP. NLP of radiology reports was the most frequent cause of errors within ePNa.
Dr. Dean said."A 2013 study published in JAMA Internal Medicine
found that 59 percent of errors made by ePNA were due to NLP processing of radiologist reports, so we're eager to replace it with a better, faster system,"
Outside of ePNa concerns, emergency department physicians looking at radiology reports often are challenged to understand the unstructured language used by radiologists in interpreting shadows on chest X-rays
, Dr. Dead added.
The next step, he said, is for the CheXpert model to be used live in emergency departments, which he expects to happen in select Intermountain Healthcare hospitals this year end.
The team has also develop a variety of AI based applications to detect various other pumnonary diseases including TB, COPD, Emphysema etc.
The study findings were presented Sept. 30 at the European Respiratory Society’s International Congress in Madrid.