Published on April 2nd, 2019 | by Emergent Enterprise0
This Free AI Reads X-Rays as Well as Doctors
Crowded ERs and lack of healthcare expertise are common problems around the globe. As Mark Wilson at fastcompany.com reports, at least one important service now is being offered absolutely free online to anyone with a web browser: a chest x-ray reading. Not to be the last word on someone’s health but it can certainly raise a red flag to get a more thorough examination if a problem is spotted by the online tool. Any step like this that can potentially decrease expensive visits to the doctor are welcome.
Photo source: mlmed.org
I’ve never read a chest X-ray before. I couldn’t spot pneumonia, an edema, nodules, atelectasis–nor do I know what most of these terms mean without googling them. But if I were to upload my own chest X-ray onto this free website, it could diagnose 14 diseases with 80% accuracy–in other words, about as well as a real radiologist.
How could this possibly work? It’s all thanks to open-source AI that runs inside your web browser–or what happens when insurance companies and big pharma stop making the rules of healthcare, and the age of WebMD self-diagnosis is supercharged with machine learning.
The Chester AI radiology assistant was developed in work led by Joseph Paul Cohen, a postdoctoral fellow at Mila (the Quebec AI institute) and the University of Montreal. He used an NIH dataset of chest X-rays and diseases to train software to spot diseases in these scans. Though he is not a clinical doctor, Cohen is focused on the intersection of health and deep learning. Previously, Cohen created an app called BlindTool, which used machine learning to train a phone’s camera to serve as the eyes for someone with vision impairment.