Tag: healthcare

The way patients are diagnosed, treated, and cared for is undergoing significant transformation in maternal-fetal medicine (MFM). Artificial intelligence (AI) is emerging as a powerful tool in enhancing diagnostic accuracy, optimizing workflows, and fostering equitable access to healthcare. But there are many profound implications of AI in MFM, which were discussed in a recent panel, “Exploring the Expanding Role of Artificial Intelligence in Maternal-Fetal Medicine” that featured clinicians and experts at the SMFM 2024 Pregnancy Meeting.

The speakers and panelists included: Jeanne Sottile, RDMS RVT CSPO of AS Software; University of Kentucky College of Medicine’s Maternal Fetal Medicine Fellow Physician, Dr. Neil Bharat Patel; CEO of Ultrasound AI, Robert Bunn; Chief Medical Offer and Professor, Dr. Garrett K.Lam, of Intermountain High Risk Pregnancy Center and University of Kentucky; and Martin Mienkina, PhD, Advanced Technology and Innovation Manager at GE Healthcare.

Here is a breakdown into the key insights that emerged of the multifaceted applications of AI, challenges, opportunities, and its potential to reshape patient outcomes.

The establishment of trust in algorithmic insights is central to the integration of AI into MFM.

Rigorous testing methodologies are paramount to validate AI algorithms, ensuring consistency and persistence of results across diverse patient populations and clinical settings.

Transparency and trust will build the foundation of successful adoption and utilization of new AI technologies, ensuring that AI-driven innovations enhance, rather than compromise, patient care.

A compelling aspect of AI in MFM is its capacity to democratize healthcare access.

By mitigating skill barriers through technologies like AI-assisted ultrasound, AI enables less specialized practitioners to perform basic examinations with greater accuracy. This innovation is especially promising for underserved rural and international communities, where access to specialized care can be limited.

AI algorithms, like those that can predict preterm birth, represent a large shift in diagnostic approaches.

These algorithms transcend conventional anatomical markers like the cervix, leveraging digital signals within ultrasound images to discern subtle patterns and correlations. AI can ‘see’ beyond human perception and analyze a spectrum of anatomical areas (like the ovaries, uterus, and placenta).

By processing vast amounts of data in real time, AI algorithms can detect early indicators of complications, leading to timelier interventions and improved patient outcomes.

Ensuring equitable access to AI-driven healthcare solutions is a critical consideration in the adoption of AI in MFM.

Some collaborative efforts underway include the development of solutions tailored for low-resource settings, supported by organizations like the Gates Foundation. By leveraging AI to bridge healthcare gaps globally, these initiatives aim to advance maternal and fetal health outcomes worldwide.

The equitable dissemination of AI solutions in MFM extends beyond merely providing access to technology. It involves tailoring solutions to suit the needs of diverse populations and addressing systemic barriers to healthcare access. By prioritizing inclusivity and accessibility, AI-driven innovations have the potential to revolutionize maternal and fetal healthcare delivery.

From enhancing diagnostic precision to optimizing workflows and fostering equitable access to healthcare, AI promises to transform patient care in MFM. However, realizing this potential requires collaborative efforts, rigorous testing methodologies, and regulatory oversight to ensure the reliability, validity, and accessibility of AI technologies.

As the healthcare industry navigates the intersection of AI and healthcare, the future of maternal-fetal medicine holds promise for improved patient outcomes and enhanced quality of care.

Learn more about AS Software’s approach to AI: AI in Ultrasound Reporting: Driving Efficiency and Automation

Artificial Intelligence (AI) has the potential to reshape the ultrasound technology landscape — revolutionizing patient care, enhancing diagnostic accuracy, and transforming the use of ultrasound technology.

“The integration of artificial intelligence technology in ultrasound imaging is expected to make the ultrasound imaging technique smarter and improve the efficiency of the technique to accurately examine the disease. The surging demand for imaging biomarkers and quantitative imaging is significantly driving the demand for AI in ultrasound imaging.” (Precedence Research

Current ultrasound reporting solutions drive value through greater efficiency, automation, and interoperability. These same benefits are also major catalysts of emerging AI value, which will continue to drive clinical, financial, and operational benefits for healthcare organizations.

How AI can complement our existing workflow solution

AS Software is the workflow conduit connecting ultrasound machines, EHRs, and PACS/VNA, and we’re uniquely positioned to incorporate AI into this existing solution ecosystem deployed across our customer base — which currently manages over 10 million studies annually.

We have a long track record of prioritizing interoperability with industry-leading technology providers; many of which are now incorporating AI into their offerings. AS Software will be positioned to both interoperate with existing AI and leverage embedded AI from various partners in the market.

We’re excited to have customers and partners working with us to explore options to best meet these needs, and see many opportunities for AI to enhance research capabilities, ensure diagnostic accuracy, and further automate features to reduce documentation time.

Opportunities for AI in Ultrasound Reporting

There are many opportunities for AI to positively impact ultrasound and ultrasound workflows, and help automate reporting, image analysis, and task administration — giving time back to sonographers and physicians.  Some of the near-term opportunities include:

Enhancing Clinical Research Tools

Today, researchers are limited to searching text data contained in historical reports. Adding a search dimension that includes information contained in the associated historical studies and images opens many new and interesting possibilities for exploration.

Maintaining Certifications

The ability to search DICOM images by their contents can enable the creation of new features that aid in preparing submissions to maintain AIUM certifications.

Capturing Charges

By comparing the contents of images captured in a study to the procedures within an order, AI can ensure that procedures listed within an ultrasound report for billing purposes reflect the work completed. This allows organizations to capture additional charges that would otherwise be missed without AI assistance.

Improving Quality Assurance

Detecting image contents can be used to improve the efficiency of individuals performing quality assurance and quality control functions.

Approaches to AI growth and development in ultrasound

As demand for ultrasound technology innovation grows, it’s exciting to see emerging niche AI vendors like BIOTICSai and BrightHeart, and established partners like Microsoft Azure, leveraging AI to accelerate innovation throughout the industry.

There are three paths for companies like AS Software to consider when adding AI into existing solutions:

  • Native AI: Developing AI technologies in-house.
  • Acquired AI: Acquiring existing AI solutions.
  • Embedded AI: Integrating AI tools into existing workflows and software solutions.

While native AI development isn’t our current focus, we are actively exploring embedded and acquisition opportunities. 

With an established history of embedding and complimenting electronic health records (EHR), picture archiving and communication systems (PACS), and other ultrasound and healthcare technology, AS Software is well-positioned to connect and incorporate AI tools within streamlined ultrasound workflows. 

If you have any questions about the future of AI at AS Software or are interested in partnering with us to explore new ways AI can reshape ultrasound reporting, please contact us.

David Lintz

David Lintz is the CEO of AS Software and brings over 25 years of healthcare and technology leadership to the organization. His commitment to building strategies centered on providing value to customers, along with his visionary approach to innovation, is instrumental in propelling AS Software to offer transformative ultrasound reporting, automation, and image management solutions. Under David’s leadership, AS Software continues to expand and enhance its capabilities to better serve the healthcare market, driving efficiency for providers nationwide.

When I purchased my first personal computer, the only way to obtain software was to drive to a big box store and pick it up, like a bag of chips. But unlike a bag of chips, the package wasn’t immediately useful.  Instead, you had to make sure it would run on your machine first and then install it — sometimes, the install wouldn’t work.  

This painful method of distributing software via physical media was frustrating for software producers and users.  

As internet connections improved, new avenues of software distribution became available.  

Soon we could download and update the software. Before long, the software was handling this for us. Software companies also began offering solutions that didn’t need to be installed, only accessed. 

“Cloud” or Software as a Service (SaaS) applications offer significant advantages for consumers. These consumer benefits are amplified in enterprise software, which costs more and requires more expertise and infrastructure to run. 

Three major benefits of cloud healthcare technology 

1. Safer data and secure browser delivery  

Delivery of the application via a browser, which is nearly universally available by default on all computers, means nothing must be installed to begin getting value from the software. It reduces the need for powerful local machines and prevents any potential loss of data.  

2. Lower costs and reduced system complexity 

Before cloud technology, enterprises had no choice but to build out large data centers and find, hire, and retain experts for costly servers, networking, databases, and security. Teams were asked to run and manage many critical business systems without being experts in those systems.  

Cloud-based solutions offload this complexity and enable enterprises to focus on utilizing their solution. Each cloud solution adopted reduces the number of systems that overloaded IT teams need to support. 

3. Quicker delivery and rapid feature updates  

Cloud providers can react to customer feedback at a pace no solution delivered in another fashion can match. All great companies listen to their customers and incorporate their feedback, but every software producer is constrained by the pace their customer base can receive updates. 

For example, if it takes a customer a month to roll out a minor update, and two to six months for a major update, how many updates can a software producer realistically expect a customer to take in a year? One? One every other year? If each customer needs to engage their IT team, spin up a project, get resources assigned, and execute the upgrade, those might even be conservative estimates.  

Ultimately, the fundamental promise of cloud products is to enable customers to toggle on and configure new features as they become available, allowing customers and software companies to engage in a much tighter feedback loop. 

Given that cloud solutions can reduce implementation time and complexity while enabling a tighter product feedback loop, it is no wonder why there has been a strong movement to adopt cloud technologies across all industries.

In healthcare specifically, the benefits of cloud technology will continue to help increase efficiency and quality of care while lowering IT burdens as more organizations migrate to cloud technologies.   

To learn more about the benefits of cloud healthcare technology solutions for your organization, schedule a demo. 

Nasrin brings over 15 years of hands-on experience to AS Software, and as the new Director of Clinical Ultrasound Solutions she will provide valuable technical and clinical guidance to customers and team members. In addition to leading AS Software’s first Customer Innovation Group that will help directly influence the product roadmap and innovation, Nasrin will also work with individual customers looking for solution workflow optimization and best practices. 

Get to know Nasrin better through her spotlight interview below and make sure to connect with her on LinkedIn! 

You’ve been in the ultrasound field for over 15 years! Why did you choose ultrasound and how did you get started? 

“Ultrasound chose me. My background was in Computer Science, and I worked for five years as an Application Specialist. I knew I was interested in healthcare but was unsure of which direction to go. My journey began when I was fortunate enough to find a position at a hospital in the suburbs of Chicago. I had the opportunity to shadow a sonographer and from then on, I knew it was my calling!” 

You’ve spent much of your career at Texas Children’s Hospital.  Tell us about your journey there. 

“I started at Texas Children’s as an MFM sonographer. The department was brand new, and as it grew, I was able to take on more responsibility. Because I was well-versed in technology, I would ask a lot of questions about our technical capabilities. That’s when I started to grow into the leader that I am today. I went from an MFM sonographer to the Assistant Director of the MFM department, managing eight clinical sites.” 

You helped evaluate ultrasound reporting systems for the team at Texas Children’s, what was that process like? 

“The system we were using wasn’t cutting it for how busy we were. The options were to upgrade the current system or go with something different. We decided to see what was out there and ask the sonographers and physicians what was most important for them.  After assessing three different reporting systems, the demo from AS was everything we were looking for.” 

What was it you were looking for in an ultrasound reporting system? 

“It needed to be reliable and easy to use for sonographers and physicians. The physicians wanted to create high-quality, easy-to-read reports that looked great to referring physicians. The goal was also to eliminate documenting in multiple EMR systems. Overall, AS answered the wants and needs of the department.” 

“It made a huge difference for us, and over the years I continued to be more impressed with the team at AS and establish wonderful relationships.” 

Now you’re going to work closely with Texas Children’s here at AS Software! Tell us about your career transition. 

“Texas Children’s was my home for 12 years, and I’m excited to continue working closely with Dr. Wesley Lee and the team. I see the opportunity to advocate both for them and for all of AS Software’s current and prospective customers — sharing best practices and incorporating feedback from into the product roadmap.”  

“We’re at the point where patient care truly needs support. Clinicians need the best technology that helps them improve their workflows and deliver great patient care. I’m looking forward to tapping into the side of the clinicians to deliver the best product to them, giving them what they’re looking for and what’s important on a day-to-day basis.” 

And now tell us some fun things about yourself, any hobbies? 

“I have a huge family that I love spending time with. I also enjoy traveling, and in my spare time I enjoy sewing! It could be as simple as making a dress or changing the color of my curtains.” 

Welcome, Nasrin! We can’t wait for all the great things to come with you here at AS Software. 

The transformation of healthcare is creating many benefits for both patients and clinicians, including: 

  • Delivering quicker access to patient data 
  • Removing physical barriers to care and communication 
  • Empowering patients to take a more active role in their health 

Enhanced technology leads to the necessity for more expertise and new capabilities; for clinicians and IT teams it can feel like there is always another escalated strategy to implement, another manufacturing update, a new portable device or application to connect, another system to learn, and even more integrations to ensure. 

“The largest challenge the healthcare industry faces when it comes to adopting new technology is the initial error rate. Generally, new technological products require iteration before they’re sufficiently reliable. This iterative process can be painful, potentially resulting in inaccurate predictions and inappropriate recommendations.” (Forbes Technology Council

As new applications, digital tools, and Health Information Systems are innovated, disparate network structures and piecemeal solutions take a toll on user experiences and operational processes. 

Think of the slow, frustrating rise of the Electronic Health Record and the difficulties of interoperability that have had massive impacts on data sharing capabilities and patient and clinician experiences. Innovation is key, but how can administrations and IT professionals ensure they are filling in gaps as technology advances throughout healthcare?

While standardization is strategized and best practices become more widely understood and utilized, technical support resources have become one of the top gauges for reliable usage and adoption. 

Two of the main focuses in effective Health Information Technology are to ensure: 

Correct Usage: Clinicians are able to input and access all data accurately and timely, capturing patient records and reporting visit information. 

Proper Data Flow: Data is managed seamlessly through interconnected systems — transferred and stored securely in the right systems in the right format. 

Proper IT support is a major factor in achieving these goals. With access to reliable support from an experienced team: 

  • Clinicians are onboarded to technology and receive the proper training to feel confident in all features and tools. Any technical issues or questions are addressed in a helpful and timely manner by the support team. 
  • Systems are built to meet the unique interoperability requirements of the organization. All needed upgrades and incoming system integrations are securely developed and addressed by the support team.

When the daily stress of a clinician’s workflow is exacerbated by a potential bug or an error, do they know who to call? Do they have access to resources to fix the problem promptly? How much will it affect their daily productivity? What impact will it have on the quality of patient care they can provide? Or is that error something that would have been prevented with proper maintenance and upgrades? 

A professional, helpful support team alleviates these burdens and helps clinicians meet innovation with confidence.  

As Dr. Porter said in his success story, “medicine is changing all the time.” In order to adapt, It’s the responsibility of the healthcare organization to ensure that they are partnering with reliable organizations that provide technology support. 

To learn how we partner with customers to provide expert IT support from implementation to beyond, request a demo