Partners HealthCare Embraces the Democratization of AI to Accelerate Innovation in Medicine

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The MGH & BWH Center for Clinical Data Science wants to put AI in the toolbox of every researcher and clinician

Boston, MA April 08, 2019 – At the World Medical Innovation Forum 2019, Partners HealthCare today announced a commitment to put artificial intelligence (AI) in the toolbox of all of its researchers and clinicians. These efforts, being spearheaded by the MGH & BWH Center for Clinical Data Science (CCDS), focus on providing researchers and clinicians with access to data, GPU (graphics processing unit) compute capacity and supporting software required to develop their own AI algorithms to be implemented in the clinical environment.

CCDS is planning broad roll-out to the Partners system over the next 12 months and is already offering AI capabilities and support services. This announcement aligns with national and global trends towards democratization of AI capabilities through increasingly collaborative efforts between academic organizations, technology companies and organizations like the American College of Radiology (ACR) that work to establish standards for the field.

“Currently, focused and siloed pockets of domain expertise in AI reside within specific departments or labs at several large academic medical centers, but making AI an enabling technology across the field of healthcare has been a challenge for many facilities” said Keith Dreyer, DO, PhD, FACR, FSIIM, Chief Data Science Officer, Partners HealthCare. “The truth is, you don’t have to be a computer scientist or data scientist to participate in the creation of AI – we are just starting to see increasing availability of tools to enable on-premises development of AI models by clinicians.”

The trend is punctuated by the recent announcement of a free software platform (AI-LAB) being released by the ACR to allow radiologists to develop, validate and implement AI within their own facilities. AI-LAB is a core component of ACR’s vision for the democratization of AI in radiology. The free, vendor-neutral software solution will allow radiologists to work with patient data within their own secure IT environments, while providing opportunities to share AI datasets and algorithms with other institutions. The objective is to facilitate the development of more versatile, generalizable and accurate models – a principle known as transfer learning.

Through collaboration with Nvidia and The Ohio State University (OSU), CCDS has demonstrated the ability for new transfer learning approaches to generate algorithms that are more robust and adaptive to local variation. The specific project involved the transfer of a cardiac Computed Tomography Angiography (CTA) model, which was co-developed with Nvidia, to OSU where it was re-trained using OSU data. The resulting model was more accurate and required less effort to train, validate and test. Ittai Dayan, MD, Executive Director of Operations at CCDS underscores the spirit of collaboration. “The concept of transfer learning means that sites can collaborate in building more highly performant algorithms without having to share sensitive patient data – this collaborative approach will dramatically accelerate the rate at which new algorithms are developed and integrated into the clinical workflow.”

The announcement at the World Medical Innovation Forum in Boston, a global conference focusing on the intersection of AI and clinical care, reflects the vital role of innovation in transforming healthcare. The ability for new technologies, like AI, to have a meaningful impact in the field of medicine is highly dependent on collaboration between stakeholders with a unified goal of improving patient lives. At the conference, clinicians, industry and government leaders, entrepreneurs and venture investors are exploring where AI meets clinical care, including the requisite sensitivity to patient data and standards.

To see more of CCDS’ work at the Forum, visit the CCDS booth onsite on the 3rd floor of the Westin Copley.

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