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Novant Health is now using artificial intelligence to help read CAT scans in Charlotte

National Cancer Institute

Novant Health is now using artificial intelligence to help emergency room doctors read CAT scans.

The technology is already being used at Novant’s Presbyterian Medical Center in Charlotte and the hospital system plans to expand it to all of its acute care locations in the coming months.

When a patient visits the ER, a doctor might order a CAT scan of a body part like the head or lungs. Now, artificial intelligence technology, developed by Israeli company Aidoc, will read the CAT scan results and then sort them so that patients with serious problems like brain bleeds or blood clots can see a doctor faster.

“AI doesn’t get tired in the middle of the night and it will automatically keep picking things up,” said Dr. Eric Eskioglu, chief medical and scientific officer for Novant.

Eskioglu said an ER radiologist will still review the scans but the aim of the AI is to quickly catch patients who might need emergency medical attention and bump them to the top of the physician’s “to-read” list.

“The first day we implemented this, actually, a tiny little pulmonary embolus, which is a clot in the lung, was picked up by this AI module that probably wouldn’t have been picked up by a plain pair of eyes,” Eskioglu said.

Novant began using the technology in December, and as of Dec. 22, had used it for approximately 800 patients, according to data provided by the hospital system. Novant said the AI technology detected that 63 of those patients were in need of “quick patient care.”

AI is being increasingly applied in health care. A number of research studies have suggested that AI can perform as well as or better than humans at health care tasks like diagnosing disease.

Copyright 2022 WFAE

Claire Donnelly is WFAE's health reporter. She previously worked at NPR member station KGOU in Oklahoma and also interned at WBEZ in Chicago and WAMU in Washington, D.C. She holds a master's degree in journalism from Northwestern University and attended college at the University of Virginia, where she majored in Comparative Literture and Spanish. Claire is originally from Richmond, Virginia. In her free time, Claire likes listening to podcasts and trying out new recipes.