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Innovation changing medical imaging

By Liu Zhihua | China Daily | Updated: 2019-08-27 10:25

A visitor gets a checkup at Wuzhen Internet Hospital in Tongxiang, Zhejiang province, in November 2018. [Photo/Xinhua]

Commercial applications of medical artificial intelligence are expected to increase this year, mostly in the medical imaging sector, according to Yan Yi, vice-president of the health group with CEC Capital, one of most successful investment banking platforms in China's medical and health sector.

The main driving force is that China supports innovation and has created a favorable environment for medical AI with ever-improving policies, as the country sees AI as a way to counter inadequate medical resources and imbalanced allocation, according to Yan.

Also, large amounts of available medical data in China support the accuracy and speed of AI medical imaging. Medical images make up about 90 percent of medical data, and as the most populous country in the world, China has rich medical image data resources, Yan said.

"The bottlenecks of rural and county-level healthcare in China are mainly due to a lack of senior and experienced medical professionals, and medical AI could help improve diagnosis accuracy and efficiency of young and inexperienced doctors," he said.

"It is clear that commercial applications of medical AI solutions from leading startups are ramping up, and will change healthcare in China," Yan said.

In 2016 and 2017, large investment inflows drove the upsurge of AI medical imaging in China, and now leading startups have developed varied AI solutions to improve diagnosis and treatment accuracy and efficiency, including those to help doctors design heart operations and forecast post-operative treatment requirements.

Medical AI solutions, especially AI-supported medical imaging, have been applied in an increasing number of hospitals, health checkup centers, and medical imaging centers, and in government-funded smart cities and cancer screening projects, according to Yan.

Investments favor leading medical AI companies that have secured data access and thus can constantly update products to have increased disease indications and commercial applications, he said.

Qiao Xin, co-founder and CEO of Deepwise Healthcare, said AI applications are changing many industries, and the ability of medical AI to enhance healthcare in China promises a rosy future.

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