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How Computer Vision is changing healthcare industry

August 20, 2021

7 minutes read

Computer vision (CV) creates ML-based models applied for medical assistance in the prescription of medication, and identification, monitoring or the development of specific illnesses. Computer vision helps physicians to complete daily work, free up physician’s time, prevent avoidable procedures and diagnostics, which allows doctors to concentrate on difficult cases in healthcare. It helps to boost strategies of better medical help and give more attention to each case. The implementation of computer vision software based on medical imaging or predictive analytics offers several advantages to the healthcare market. 

What is Computer Vision 

Computer vision concentrates on creating advanced models capable of interpreting and processing visual information. To train computer vision models the system needs a certain amount of input data, mostly medical pictures. Computer vision software helps physicians to identify illnesses more precisely and quickly. Computer vision applications reduce human involvement and automate image recognition processes, which is crucial for completing tasks and improving the precision of medical treatment in the field of healthcare. Radiology and medical imaging are the fields for the most successful use cases in the field of healthcare. Computer vision is used for development of  solutions for healthcare to assist in comparing and analyzing multiple images such as MR, X-ray, or CT, to boost the diagnostic process and make it more efficient.

Health monitoring with Computer Vision 

Computer vision ensures several benefits for more advanced health monitoring. For instance:

  • diagnostics becomes faster and easier 
  • more accurate diagnostics results 
  • diseases may be detected timely

Computer vision solutions developed for healthcare can be very helpful in medical assistance doing important tasks. For instance, during cesarean deliveries and other surgeries is crucial to measure the amount of blood lost. Computer vision applications can help doctors by measuring it in real time or in advance. It also helps to forecast hemorrhage for the planned surgery more precisely than other methods. Computer vision software developed for healthcare can count body fat mass of patients as well. Its applications inspect pictures taken by CCTV to extend human capabilities with visual analytics. It helps analyze visual information more quickly, and work with more precise data, bringing healthcare workers nearer to the patients.

Diagnostic solutions 

Artificial neural networks help physicians to inspect details with help of computer vision more precisely and identify less visible details otherwise easily overlooked. It helps to identify illnesses at early stages, which is important for conditions like cancer. With computer vision the cancer screening tests are more precise allowing to identify the most subtle cancerous or precancerous patterns within seconds, offering a great supplementary resource for physicians in diagnosing breast cancer, bone cancer, or skin cancer.

Computer vision applications developed for healthcare can help in detecting timely various neurological illnesses. Natural language programming systems can accumulate information analyzing responses of patients and narrowing down the possible diagnosis in a pre-appointment interview. Built-in webcam and sensor register facial and body movements. The program asks a series of questions and compares people’s answers and reactions to formulate probable diagnoses including depression or anxiety. The program sends these findings to the physician to inspect them even before the patient comes in for the visit.

Medical imaging techniques

Different types of computer vision medical imaging applications created for healthcare assist physicians successfully by making diagnosis and treatment of patients across different fields helping to inspect and understand visual information (MRIs, CAT scans, X-rays, sonograms). Once developed and trained, computer vision applications work quickly and accurately identifying the face, the reaction of cells to a compound, the smallest changes in a fracture, or when an instrument is removed from a surgical cavity.

Object recognition algorithms can assist by more accurately identifying small differences between pictures and precisely interpretation of visual information in healthcare. 

Such computer vision applications help healthcare workers to more accurate diagnostics by creating 3D visualizations, which are more interactive, detailed, and informative than 2D pictures. For instance, 3D breast imaging models are highly effective by diagnosing cancer at the early stages. 

Patient identification

Computer vision technology can prevent patient misidentification by using facial recognition in healthcare institutions. Errors occurring because of misidentification and wrong treatment can be dangerous for people’s health or even lethal. 

For example, in cases when a doctor makes a mistake by adding the order not to do cardiopulmonary resuscitation in the wrong patient record. This patient can die because of it. A drug prescription mistakenly written in the wrong patient’s record can be very harmful as well. Such mistakes can be avoided when computer vision applications care about patient authentication.

Robotic surgery 

To boost accuracy, exactness and safety of surgery healthcare institutions need computer vision applications applied for complex surgical assistance procedures. Computer vision applications developed for healthcare help by preventing inadvertent retention of medical instruments for the surgery as well as by tracking usage of instruments and procedure duration.

For instance, computer vision assists with orthopedic procedures by processing, calibrating, orienting, or navigating input information to refine visibility in order to achieve more precise technique of the surgery. It can reduce procedure duration, and enhance patient outcomes.

Computer vision solutions can estimate blood loss by processing pictures of surgical drapes, blood-stained sponges, suction machines and other instruments during and after surgeries. Such algorithms analyze the hemorrhage from this data and forward the information to surgeons helping them make blood transfusion decisions.

Such computer vision processing algorithms, which are the basis for robotic surgery, can process, correct, and calibrate the images of the operating place, the patient’s body, and the surgical tools to create a magnified 3D image of all three components and overlay them into a single view that allows tracking the robot’s position and the positions of the surgical tools in order to make more accurate movements. The operation is directed by the surgeon with an operating console remotely. Robots can make more precise movements than a human hand. 

Improvement of clinical trials

Computer vision can help to improve the process of clinical trials for drug development companies. To be sure that new drugs are safe, each pharmaceutical company has to conduct preclinical and clinical tests on a group of people and provide detailed information on the dosing and toxicity levels of a newly developed drug. The process of clinical trials is complicated and expensive. The big problem is to find appropriate candidates who represent as many races, ethnicities, ages, and genders as possible. All candidates have to pass the tests before they are allowed to participate in the clinical trials. If too many candidates are rejected, clinical trials become even more time-consuming and costly.

Computer vision algorithms help to collect information about each candidate asking them questions, analyzing answers and narrowing down possible troubles in a pre-appointment interview. The built-in webcam and sensor scan the candidate’s face to register the facial and body movements, to compare answers, reactions, and to identify if the candidate is capable of participating. 

Computer Vision for improving efficiency in medical processes

Analyzing reports and images usually takes a lot of valuable doctors time. Computer vision applications developed for healthcare can generate medical reports automatically, helping to deliver more efficient services and offer more personalized advice. AI-based computer vision applications developed for healthcare analyze data from ultrasound, MRI, X-rays, CT scans, helping clinicians to detect physical condition of each patient, to diagnose, to forecast the development of future illnesses, choose appropriate care or preventive methods. Time saved on routine tasks can be spent with patients for solving more complicated cases. 

Computer-aided diagnostics can lower the necessity for office visits allowing remote consultations. Less doctor appointments allows to rationalize the healthcare institutions workflow and to optimize cost. It allows them to offer more qualitative medical care even with less staff. Computer vision applications can do the routine work allowing the physicians to concentrate on complicated tasks like management, advisory, building relationships, analyzing data etc.

Contact our experts to learn more about how VITech has helped clients in the healthcare sector revolutionise diagnostics.

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