Dermatology Point-of-Care Intelligent Network
AI-powered medical imaging network to connect all points of care for patients who may be dealing with skin cancer.
Updated March 31, 2023.
One in six Canadians will develop some sort of skin cancer during their lifetime.
Each year in Canada, there are 80,000 reported cases of skin cancer, also known as melanoma. The annual cost of skin cancer to the healthcare system is more than $500 million, coupled with immeasurable costs to families. Advanced cases of skin cancer can cost over $160,000 per patient to treat, whereas a timely intervention can cost as little as $50.
Canada is facing a severe shortage of dermatologists leading to wait times of six months or more for an appointment. Melanoma can rapidly progress in as little as six weeks and patient survival declines from 98 per cent to 15 per cent if treatment is delayed.
How We Are Solving It
Change Healthcare is leading the Dermatology Point-of-Care Intelligent Network project in partnership with BC Cancer, MetaOptima, Careteam Technologies, Providence Health Care, the University of Victoria and the University of British Columbia to help speed diagnosis and expedite care for cancer patients.
The new cloud-based Dermatology Point-of-Care Intelligent Network uses MetaOptima’s tele-dermatology and Change Healthcare’s tele-pathology imaging, augmented by artificial intelligence (AI). The project offers the possibility to speed up urgent cases through e-referral and e-triage, as well as train AI models on real-life clinical data, to create algorithms for clinical decision support and medical education.
The project is rolling out in phases across B.C. The intent is to expand coverage to other parts of Canada and the world, particularly those with increased solar exposure and higher incidences of skin cancer.
This project developed a system that can effectively support a patient-centric, closed-loop tele-dermatology workflow, including remote patients and physicians. The solution leverages AI-powered medical imaging that incorporates dermatology and pathology data and images enabling patients at risk of skin cancer to get diagnosed in days, rather than months. The project undertook a pilot study to validate the patient journey, care planning, system usability and effectiveness to monitor and support treatment decisions related to skincare conditions including cancer. Overall, the solution decreased wait times substantially for diagnostic assessment of skin cancer (as compared to average national wait times); the time between referral and diagnosis was 5 days or less for 84% of the patient cases in the pilot, compared to 192 days national average for the time between referral and diagnosis.
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