Cases of Coronavirus are rising by the day, and there is widespread fear of contracting the infection. While aggressive testing is the need of the hour to flatten the curve, Indian health care infrastructure is grossly inadequate when it comes to testing and diagnostic facilities.
At this juncture, healthcare startups across the country have stepped in to provide medical assistance and help patients with diagnostic facilities, at an affordable cost. One such organisation is Mumbai-based healthcare AI startup Qure.ai, which has pitched in with a COVID-19 progression monitoring tool, named qXR.
According to a press release from Qure.ai, this solution can monitor the progression of infected patients using daily bedside chest X-rays, and gives the automated reading within seconds, without burdening the radiology team. Besides, qXR also helps in estimating the percentage area of the lung, and tracks the change with each chest X-ray.
This advanced tool is now being used at the Bolton NHS Foundation Trust UK that provides quality healthcare at the Royal Bolton Hospital in Greater Manchester. The hospital witnesses massive admissions, especially in the accident emergency departments, to the tune of 115,000 patients a year. It also treats over 90,000 inpatients annually, and performs over 45,000 chest X-rays every year.
Qure.ai was founded by Pooja Rao and Prashant Warrier in 2016, to ensure accurate and timely diagnosis of diseases, owing to the low doctor-patient ratio in India.
An MBBS from Maharashtra University of Health Sciences, Pooja learnt machine learning and other emerging technologies while pursuing PhD in neuroscience at International Max Planck Research School, Germany. On studying these technologies deeply, she realised the potential of AI and machine learning in medical imaging, and that’s how she ventured into the healthcare space, with Qure.ai.
The startup’s solutions are currently being used at 60 sites across 15 countries, including Brazil, UK, US and France, among others.
Radiology is an area that is critical in the fight against COVID-19. Chest X-ray is one of the first ways to diagnose the infection, along with basic blood tests. In the current scenario, many of the UK’s NHS doctors are self-isolated, and while testing facilities are available, they are heavily burdened in the absence of adequate staff.
Using this solution developed by Qure.ai, any abnormalities or emergencies can be reported on time, without delay. It not just reports a patient’s lung condition but also helps to quantify the extent of the infection accurately.
As per Qure.ai, the algorithm helps to localise and qualify the lesions, and gives patients a Covid-19 score, right after the diagnosis. This score helps doctors to segregate patients on the extent of the infection - high, medium and low. Besides, quantifying the percentage of lung affected will enable healthcare professionals to monitor the disease in a more effective manner.
(Edited by Athira Nair)