This is the fourth in a five-part series in which we introduce Canadian Medical Association members to the recipients of the first round of Joule™ Innovation grants. Please watch for additional stories in the series.
Imagine knowing that a diagnosis from a doctor is the best available diagnosis on the planet? That there is no need to be sent to a specialist for a second opinion? It may sound too good to be true but thanks to the Collaborative Ultrasound Deep Learning (CUDL) initiative, expert and instant diagnosis right from the doctor’s office may not be far off!
The CUDL initiative is a cloud-based computer-aided diagnostic tool that is currently under development. Simply put, the goal of the tool will be to provide an on-the-spot diagnosis of a 2D and 3D ultrasound image based on knowledge accumulated from thousands of similar cases.
Guiding the development of this initiative are members of the CUDL who share information and ideas across disciplines to decide which diagnostic imaging problems can be solved by cloud computing and deep learning. This solution is currently being designed so it can be applied to the assessment of infant hip dysplasia and will be used as a model to apply to other important clinical problems.
In the case of hip dysplasia, after performing a 3-second ultrasound at the point of care, the physician will upload a patient’s scan and then receive a validated deep-learning expert diagnostic based on a database comparing the patient’s scan to thousands of other scans worldwide.
The immediate and definitive diagnosis of normal or dysplastic hips near birth relieves the family stress of waiting for 6 weeks for a follow-up of an ambiguous result, encourages compliance as the scan can be done perinatally rather than at a dedicated follow-up visit, and reduces the chance of missing hip dysplasia with its devastating long-term consequences.
The innovation creates connections, not just digitally by uploading information to the cloud, but through a human network of experts that provide conclusions using advanced computer ultrasound data. This is specifically appealing to those physicians who may feel isolated in a rural or impoverished community to a worldwide network of diagnostic support.
Where could this innovation take us? Ultimately, any physician performing point-of-care ultrasound for other problem indicators, such as soft tissue masses, renal and liver disease, breast, carotid atherosclerosis, and cardiac disease could benefit from this collaboration.
The CUDL collaboration is made up of a Canadian physician-led team with deep expertise in pediatric and musculoskeletal imaging, image processing, and staged validation - against existing gold standards and outcomes. Spearheading this endeavor is Dr. Jacob Jaremko one of a collaboration of subject expert physicians who will use Joule™ Innovation grant funds to develop CUDL 3D Ultrasound diagnostics.
Dr. Jaremko is a board-certified pediatric musculoskeletal radiologist, Assistant Professor and Capital Health Endowed Chair at the University of Alberta in Edmonton, Canada. He obtained a combined MD-PhD at the University of Calgary, trained in Diagnostic Radiology in Edmonton, and has two clinical fellowships: Pediatric Radiology (Royal Children's Hospital/University of Melbourne, Australia), and Musculoskeletal Radiology (Massachusetts General Hospital /Harvard Medical School, Boston, USA.) His main research interests are in pediatric musculoskeletal disease and 3D imaging analysis.
With his expertise and vision, Dr. Jaremko’s goal is to make the CUDL a platform for sharing clinical data securely and applying deep learning networks to radically simplify ultrasound.
“Unlike other imaging modalities like CT or MRI, ultrasound is portable and can travel anywhere to remote villages or people's homes. It's the 21st century stethoscope.” claims Dr. Jaremko.
Dr. Jaremko is an innovator and a perfect example of the type of physicians Joule supports and promotes. Transforming medical diagnosis of ultrasound screening is an innovation that will improve healthcare delivery and is ultimately what Joule is all about.
“The goal is to bring a connected future to physicians so that one physician is not making potentially life-changing diagnoses alone and in the future this resource would be invaluable to physicians in multiple specialties.” says Dr. Jaremko.
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