Doctors, clinicians, and other healthcare professionals today no longer have to perform guesswork when it comes to treating patients accurately. The use of diagnostics has reduced their guesswork and significantly improved their care measures toward patients. But as the need for diagnostics is greatly realized, so is there a lack of qualified, well-trained pathologists who can diagnose and interpret the risk of diseases or injuries without any chances for error.
Addressing the concern, Imsight Medical Technology Co., Ltd has emphasized the idea that—while humans are prone to make error-based judgments, technology doesn’t. The company offers AI-based solutions for medical imaging by applying the principles of AI deep learning, computer medical image analysis technology and high-quality medical data. These solutions are Imsight’s core products that operate on a medical image assistance system, thus eliminating the gap between medical supply and demand.
In an interview with Insights Care, Huangjing Lin, the CTO, walks us through the company’s AI-based technology and its role in changing the direction of diagnostics.
Following are excerpts from the interview:
Kindly tell us the source of inspiration. What led you to venture into the field of digital pathology?
The source of inspiration comes from my research interest when I was a Ph.D. student studying at the Chinese University of Hong Kong. With the advance of high-throughput scanners, digital pathology has become a new trend to resolve the dilemma in the field of pathology. And occasionally, I attended the first challenge about analysis of whole slide pathological images in the world, i.e., the Camelyon-16&17 challenge, which enlightened my research interest in this field. It was after that that I realized that digital pathology is a promising industry and thus I focused on this field during my Ph.D. study life.
Brief us about the company and shed some light on your operations there in contributing to the company’s growth.
Imsight Technology was founded in 2017. Its headquarters is in Shenzhen and has a branch company in Hong Kong to cover the overseas market. We focus on providing medical institutions and scientific research units with key specialist construction and AI-assisted clinical solutions for screening and diagnosis and treatment.
The main application scenarios include oncology, obstetrics and gynecology, ophthalmology, pathology, medical imaging and radiotherapy. We have built up scientific research and clinical cooperation with hundreds of top-tier hospitals in China and abroad, such as Peking Union Medical College Hospital, PLA 309 Hospital, West China Hospital of Sichuan University, Hong Kong Prince of Wales Hospital, Shanghai Tongji Hospital, Shenzhen People’s Hospital, Sun Yat-sen University Affiliated Cancer Hospital, etc.
I was leading the R&D department of Imsight and managed to land a series of AI products, such as Cervical-Sight® (cytology), Breast-Sight® (pathology), DR-Sight® (radiology), Lung-Sight® (radiology), etc. I have also led R&D teams, published more than 20+ papers in the field of digital pathology, applied 26 US/China patterns and won 20+ international AI challenges in the field of medicine.
Can you elaborate upon the core values, mission and vision on which the company is built?
The core values of Imsight are higher accuracy, less misdiagnosis, alleviating the workload and making the diagnosis easier. We are striving to become AI empowers the Healthcare Industry leader and provide high-quality AI solutions to assist doctors everywhere in the world.
In what ways do the company services help the patient population in resolving their health needs? How are these different from other forms of care that they receive or do not receive in general?
For starters, take the example of cervical smear screening. Cervical smear screening is a very tedious, laborious and experience-dependent task, which requires an experienced cytologist to spend five to ten minutes for a careful review under microscopy. A typical smear contains 20,000-50,000 cells and it is unrealistic for a cytologist to thoroughly review all of the cells with subtle changes.
Another dilemma is the shortage of pathologists, which might result in the overburdened workload in their diagnostic routine and a misdiagnosis rate is inevitable (20- 30% in a single screening occasion).
Cervical-Sight® system can help to significantly increase the sensitivity of screening, as well as reduce 70% workload via negative sample elimination. Pathologists can focus on the suspicious positive cases that our system detects and make the most of their expertise. Patients can access better and more accurate clinical services with a shorter diagnosis cycle.
What diagnostic tools does the organization finds to be essential in conducting its pathology operations?
In breast cancer operation, lymph node metastasis detection (Breast-Sight®) is very essential. Surgeons need to make their surgical decision based on the diagnostic conclusion of the staging of the metastasis. Our company ensures to provide these tools to ease their concerns when conducting pathology operations. Other diagnostic tools like immunohistochemistry, also play an important role in pathology operations, and we can provide the same.
What endeavors is the organization currently pursuing to improve its pathology measures for patients?
We aim to develop AI systems based on clinical and patient requirements. We built up a cloud-based platform for pathology ecology with smarter AI empowered to resolve the dilemma of the misallocation of clinical resources in the world. At present, we are trying to improve the pathology ecology, ensuring the patients in the basic-level hospital still can access the top-tier diagnostic service.
What advice would you like to give to budding entrepreneurs and enthusiasts who desire to venture into the field of digital pathology?
Digital pathology is a promising industry with a bright future. This is an interdisciplinary subject and requires cross-section knowledge from computer science and pathology. The field is also highly related to human life. Practitioners should have an awe of life before their venture into this field. Besides, research and understanding depth are essential for a person to venture into this field.
How do you envision scaling your organization’s services and operations in 2023 and beyond?
At a product level, we are continuing to polish our AI models and expanding our product pipeline. At the marketing level, we are seeking opportunities to explore overseas marketing.