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Friday, June 21, 2024


AI Technology at Work in Our Own Backyard to Detect Lung Cancer Earlier

AtlantiCare Logo
AtlantiCare Logo

By From AtlantiCare

In October 2022, AtlantiCare—an integrated healthcare system that serves the community in more than 100 locations in Cape May, Atlantic, Burlington, Camden, and Ocean counties—became the first healthcare system in the northeastern U.S. to use the Optellum Virtual Nodule Clinic. At the heart of this technology is artificial intelligence, better known as AI.
Their team is using Optellum AI to provide extraordinary care by detecting lung cancer, one of the hardest-to-detect cancers, at early stages. It wasn’t that long ago that the concept of AI and all the astonishing impacts it could achieve were reserved for the world of science fiction and as a possible tool for generations down the road. So, it’s incredibly exciting that the technology is now right here at AtlantiCare—and that it’s being used to help improve quality of life and potentially save lives.
Below, we’ll explore the ways AtlantiCare has made this innovation a part of an integrated approach to lung care and its impact on health outcomes. To start, it’s important to understand that, in bringing pre-symptomatic cancers to light, this technology is beneficial to a broad range of individuals.
– Incidental notifications powered by Optellum are especially important for individuals who typically aren’t paying attention to lung health because they have no risk factors for lung disease, cancer, etc.
– Optellum’s lung cancer prediction capabilities helps care teams to prioritize people at-risk for lung cancer/lung disease.
How Optellum is working at AtlantiCare
By integrating the innovative AI technology into the early lung cancer diagnosis program at its Heart & Lung and Cancer Care institutes at AtlantiCare Regional Medical Center, AtlantiCare has elevated the way it diagnoses and treats lung cancer to drive better outcomes.
The Optellum Virtual Nodule Clinic offers the opportunity to spot lung cancer—early—in people who have no known risk factors, symptoms or otherwise may not have cause to be vigilant about their lung health. This happens because AtlantiCare uses the AI-driven technology on every CT and or PET scan they perform that captures all or a portion of the lung, allowing the team to incidentally detect miniscule, suspicious pulmonary nodules at the earliest stages.
In addition, Optellum’s integrated Lung Cancer Prediction capability allows the team to prioritize at-risk individuals for monitoring and follow-up care.
“Early-stage lung cancer symptoms are often vague or mimic those of other illnesses,” said Amit Borah, M.D., interventional pulmonologist and leader of the Interventional Pulmonology team at AtlantiCare’s Lung Nodule Clinic. “Through this technology, we are detecting suspicious nodules at earlier stages than ever, which is so critical to saving lives.”
Since integrating Optellum into its lung care program in fall 2022, AtlantiCare has looked at more than 1,000 incidental scans of lungs flagged by AI as having a potential issue. With this information, individuals can be made aware of a lung concern that otherwise may have gone unnoticed.
When detected early and treated timely the survival rate for cancerous lung nodules can be as high as 90%.
AtlantiCare pursues this high rate of survival by pairing the groundbreaking Optellum AI with Ethicon’s MONARCH™ robotic bronchoscopy technology to reach and biopsy the smallest, hardest-to-detect tumors in the least invasive way. With this “one-two-punch” AtlantiCare is taking lung cancer prevention, diagnosis and treatment to the next level, saving people from arduous treatment and, ultimately, saving lives.
AtlantiCare’s team says that in the approximate seven months since they started deploying the Optellum Virtual Nodule Clinic, the technology has made a dramatic impact on their team and patients. During this time, they’ve received an estimated 2-15 CT and/or PET scans per day, prompting the team to notify approximately 17% of patients because their scans detected a lung nodule larger than 8 millimeters. In notifying patients of a potential issue, AtlantiCare also encourages them to follow up with their provider or the Lung Nodule Clinic within three months.
“Through this technology, we have already identified lung cancer and/or suspicious tumors in individuals who have no known risk of lung cancer,” said Borah. “It will enhance the life-saving progress we’ve experienced since offering robotic bronchoscopy to our patients.”
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