Innovating and Integrating AI into the Medical Imaging Ecosystem: how AZ Delta built and incorporated AI at scale using Sectra Amplifier, NVIDIA, and MONAI
Academic medical centers, like AZ Delta, are on the cutting edge of medical imaging AI research. Researchers create deep learning models to address all kinds of institutional needs, with workflows to address clinical, quality assurance, and administrative needs. With the volume of data these centers produce, there is arguably no problem that cannot be solved in this space. But what happens after a model is created?
Taking a model from research into production is fraught with challenges at every turn. There are disconnects between research and clinical practice. There is a limited availability of resources and talent to bring these solutions across the divide. And, up to now, there has been no industry-accepted best practice, forcing researchers and IT operations teams to use ad-hoc, impractical solutions. To address these challenges, there needs to be a standardized model to package AI models, integrate the applications into PACS workflows, and maintain the application lifecycle to operate and manage these applications. This process must be repeatable and scalable to manage the ever-increasing volume of projects necessary for healthcare delivery of the future.
Sectra and NVIDIA have teamed up to help academic medical centers to meet this challenge. Sectra Amplifier Services has established the Amplifier Platform infrastructure to bring AI applications from research into reality. NVIDIA infrastructure, coupled with the Project MONAI (Medical Open Network for AI) framework, has created the accelerated pipeline and platform to develop and deploy medical imaging AI applications at scale. With these two components being brought together, academic medical centers around the world, including AZ Delta, can take advantage of these technology breakthroughs to the benefit of both their patients and clinical and administrative staff.
Revolutionizing AZ Delta’s integration of AI applications
With these technologies, AZ Delta brought them to bear to streamline the first of many workflows, with a team that included Dr. Peter De Jaeger, manager of the innovation team and IT, alongside data scientist Dr. Nathalie Mertens and in close collaboration with Dr. Kristof De Smet. The application segments the Psoas muscle from abdominal CT images, including defining the length and volume of the muscle. This use case was selected because of the difficulty in good segmentation, since the muscle can have different orientations and has a tapered geometry. A possible application is an additional objective parameter that reflects the health status of a patient, which has general applicability for every patient from whom a CT abdomen is taken. This requires further research in clinical practice to show outcomes.
“Within AZ Delta, we aim at integrating AI models into the clinical workflow to harmonize precision, efficiency, and accurate patient outcomes,” said Dr Mertens. “This way, AZ Delta embraces a future where medical experts converge with innovation and technology to reach optimal healthcare. Thanks to Sectra, an approachable solution to achieve this goal has been built.”
Sectra Amplifier Services made it easy for AZ Delta
AI adoption will accelerate if the output is seamlessly integrated with the existing ecosystem. This shouldn’t matter whether the output comes from commercial or research applications, seamless integration in the workflow is key to both.
Sectra Amplifier Services facilitates a faster route to AI adoption in clinical practice, providing a single technical and administrative infrastructure to access commercial applications. As an enterprise imaging vendor, Sectra creates a single point of contact for contracting, deploying, and managing applications over the lifecycle of usage.
The Amplifier Services is an open platform that enables healthcare institutions to leverage the Amplifier Platform to build and deploy their own applications as well.
MONAI accelerates AI solutioning and seamlessly integrates into Sectra Amplifier Services
Project MONAI was created to enable medical imaging AI researchers to do their life’s work. Co-founded by academic and industry partners from around the world, including NVIDIA, Project MONAI was created to simplify and accelerate deep learning pipelines for the medical domain. It builds upon common frameworks researchers already use, including PyTorch, and enables the specialization needed to work with medical imaging, going beyond the pixels into the representations of what those pixels mean.
Creating an end-to-end medical AI solution is done by taking ground truth, training a deep-learning model against that truth, packaging up that model into an AI application, and connecting that with the medical imaging ecosystem. Project MONAI includes SDKs that make this possible, for annotation, training and fine-tuning, federated learning, and inference.
Connecting those AI applications into the Sectra Amplifier Platform completes the picture for academic medical centers like AZ Delta, and makes it easier, and scalable for healthcare enterprises.
Learn more about Sectra Amplifier at https://medical.sectra.com/product/sectra-amplifier-marketplace/, and Project MONAI at https://monai.io/.