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Digital & Innovation

Partnership leverages AI in breast cancer screening, reducing radiologist workload

Health Industry Hub | May 13, 2024 |

Digital & Innovation: At the Australian Society of Medical Imaging and Radiation Therapy (ASMIRT) conference last week, Diagnostic Imaging for Women (difw) and ASX-listed Volpara Health unveiled significant progress in leveraging artificial intelligence (AI) for mammography quality assurance.

Over the course of 12 months, the implementation of Volpara Analytics AI software brought notable enhancements to both diagnostic accuracy and operational efficiency at difw, Brisbane’s first dedicated tertiary women’s imaging centre led by consultant radiologist, Dr Paula Sivyer.

“Improving cancer detection rates and alleviating the pressure on radiologist workload cannot wait,” said Teri Thomas, Volpara CEO.

Sarah Duffy, Chief Mammographer at difw, underscored the transformative impact of Volpara, saying “Volpara has transformed our quality assurance processes, elevating our image quality from the global median to the top 10%. It also supports stringent national and international standards by ensuring optimal compression, enhancing patient comfort without compromising image quality.”

The research spotlighted Volpara Analytics’s capacity to automatically and objectively evaluate the positioning and compression of every mammogram, critical components for ensuring high-quality imaging.

Traditionally, quality control has relied on labour-intensive assessments of breast screening mammograms by managers who visually inspect image quality – a process that strains existing resources. Volpara’s AI technology, however, introduces a systematic, impartial approach that drastically reduces assessment time from hours to minutes, aligning practices with global benchmarks.

“The wider adoption of AI into more national screening programmes hinges on solid research that showcases its benefits in enhancing outcomes or boosting operational efficiencies,” said Melissa Hill, Senior Imaging Scientist and Global Research Lead at Volpara Health. “Clinicians can be confident in the scientific rigour and validation of Volpara’s algorithms, and the company’s commitment to empowering healthcare providers.”  

Beyond operational streamlining, the integration of AI offers personalised feedback to staff, pinpointing both areas of excellence and opportunities for improvement. This feedback, coupled with in-application training, fosters a culture of continual improvement.

Since listing on the ASX in April 2016, Volpara has raised A$132 million. With an office in Seattle, Volpara is based in Wellington, New Zealand.

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