Google designed the suite to ease radiologists’ workload and enable easy and secure sharing of critical medical imaging; technology may eventually be adapted to pathologists’ workflow
Clinical laboratory and pathology group leaders know that Google is doing extensive research and development in the field of cancer diagnostics. For several years, the Silicon Valley giant has been focused on digital imaging and the use of artificial intelligence (AI) algorithms and machine learning to detect cancer.
Now, Google Cloud has announced it is launching a new medical imaging suite for radiologists that is aimed at making healthcare data for the diagnosis and care of cancer patients more accessible. The new suite “promises to make medical imaging data more interoperable and useful by leveraging artificial intelligence,” according to MedCity News.
In a press release, medical technology company Hologic, and healthcare provider Hackensack Meridian Health in New Jersey, announced they were the first customers to use Google Cloud’s new suite of medical imaging products.
“Hackensack Meridian Health has begun using it to detect metastasis in prostate cancer patients earlier, and Hologic is using it to strengthen its diagnostic platform that screens women for cervical cancer,” MedCity News reported.
“Google pioneered the use of AI and computer vision in Google Photos, Google Image Search, and Google Lens, and now we’re making our imaging expertise, tools, and technologies available for healthcare and life sciences enterprises,” said Alissa Hsu Lynch (above), Global Lead of Google Cloud’s MedTech Strategy and Solutions, in a press release. “Our Medical Imaging Suite shows what’s possible when tech and healthcare companies come together.” Clinical laboratory companies may find Google’s Medical Imaging Suite worth investigating. (Photo copyright: Influencive.)
Easing the Burden on Radiologists
Clinical laboratory leaders and pathologists know that laboratory data drives most healthcare decision-making. And medical images make up 90% of all healthcare data, noted an article in Proceedings of the IEEE (Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers).
More importantly, medical images are growing in size and complexity. So, radiologists and medical researchers need a way to quickly interpret them and keep up with the increased workload, Google Cloud noted.
“The size and complexity of these images is huge, and, often, images stay sitting in data siloes across an organization,” said Alissa Hsu Lynch, Global Lead, MedTech Strategy and Solutions at Google, told MedCity News. “In order to make imaging data useful for AI, we have to address interoperability and standardization. This suite is designed to help healthcare organizations accelerate the development of AI so that they can enable faster, more accurate diagnosis and ease the burden for radiologists,” she added.
According to the press release, Google Cloud’s Medical Imaging Suite features include:
- Imaging Storage: Easy and secure data exchange using the international DICOM (digital imaging and communications in medicine) standard for imaging. A fully managed, highly scalable, enterprise-grade development environment that includes automated DICOM de-identification. Seamless cloud data management via a cloud-native enterprise imaging PACS (picture archiving and communication system) in clinical use by radiologists.
- Imaging Lab: AI-assisted annotation tools that help automate the highly manual and repetitive task of labeling medical images, and Google Cloud native integration with any DICOMweb viewer.
- Imaging Datasets and Dashboards: Ability to view and search petabytes of imaging data to perform advanced analytics and create training datasets with zero operational overhead.
- Imaging AI Pipelines: Accelerated development of AI pipelines to build scalable machine learning models, with 80% fewer lines of code required for custom modeling.
- Imaging Deployment: Flexible options for cloud, on-prem (on-premises software), or edge deployment to allow organizations to meet diverse sovereignty, data security, and privacy requirements—while providing centralized management and policy enforcement with Google Distributed Cloud.
First Customers Deploy Suite
Hackensack Meridian Health hopes Google’s imaging suite will, eventually, enable the healthcare provider to predict factors affecting variance in prostate cancer outcomes.
“We are working toward building AI capabilities that will support image-based clinical diagnosis across a range of imaging and be an integral part of our clinical workflow,” said Sameer Sethi, Senior Vice President and Chief Data and Analytics Officer at Hackensack, in a news release.
The New Jersey healthcare network said in a statement that its work with Google Cloud includes use of AI and machine learning to enable notification of newborn congenital disorders and to predict sepsis risk in real-time.
Hologic, a medical technology company focused on women’s health, said its collaboration integrates Google Cloud AI with the company’s Genius Digital Diagnostics System.
“By complementing our expertise in diagnostics and AI with Google Cloud’s expertise in AI, we’re evolving our market-leading technologies to improve laboratory performance, healthcare provider decision making, and patient care,” said Michael Quick, Vice President of Research and Development and Innovation at Hologic, in the press release.
Hologic says its Genius Digital Diagnostics System combines AI with volumetric medical imaging to find pre-cancerous lesions and cancer cells. From a Pap test digital image, the system narrows “tens of thousands of cells down to an AI-generated gallery of the most diagnostically relevant,” according to the company website.
Hologic plans to work with Google Cloud on storage and “to improve diagnostic accuracy for those cancer images,” Hsu Lynch told MedCity News.
Medical image storage and sharing technologies like Google Cloud’s Medical Imaging Suite provide an opportunity for radiologists, researchers, and others to share critical image studies with anatomic pathologists and physicians providing care to cancer patients.
One key observation is that the primary function of this service that Google has begun to deploy is to aid in radiology workflow and productivity, and to improve the accuracy of cancer diagnoses by radiologists. Meanwhile, Google continues to employ pathologists within its medical imaging research and development teams.
Assuming that the first radiologists find the Google suite of tools effective in support of patient care, it may not be too long before Google moves to introduce an imaging suite of tools designed to aid the workflow of surgical pathologists as well.
—Donna Marie Pocius