Bay Labs and Northwestern Medicine Eying AI-Assisted Cardiac Imaging


The healthcare industry continues to integrate technology with the goal of giving patients the best care possible, which includes finding better ways of diagnosing and treating health problems.  Now, a new study has Bay Labs and Northwestern Medicine seeing promise in artificial intelligence-assisted cardiac imaging.


The Importance of This Study

When it comes to traditional physical exams, they can tend to miss diagnosing heart conditions even seniors who run a higher risk of having cardiovascular disease.  This is where it is important to detect early heart disease, utilizing tools like echocardiography as well as other imaging technology, would increase detection while improving treatment options.

According to a recent article in Healthcare IT News Northwestern Medicine reportedly has enrolled in what it says is the first pioneering patient study that involves artificial intelligence-enabled cardiology through a partnership with Bay Labs; this San Francisco-based startup focuses on using deep learning to cardiovascular and ultrasound imaging.

Unfortunately, these tools may not be available within a primary care environment because only certified experts that have endured years of specialized training can operate them.  However, the new study by Northwestern called the Seeing the Heart with AI Powered Echo (SHAPE) is being viewed as the first project that will evaluate how artificial intelligence can assist certified medical assistants (CMA) in guiding ultrasound acquisition.


CMAs are known for working alongside physicians in completing numerous clinical and administrative jobs, such as finishing basic lab work and taking medical histories; yet, they normally are not trained to administer ultrasound exams.  Since the study is set to eventually enroll roughly 1,200 patients to Northwestern, the objective is to find out if CMAs can utilize Bay Lab’s software of cardiac ultrasound guidance, known as EchoGPS, to achieve diagnostic-quality echocardiograms.

The Growing Trend

According to officials, SHAPEs research will be used toward a larger trend as the ongoing partnership between Bay Labs and Northwestern Medicine as it fits into larger AI initiatives of Northwestern.  The focus will be on machine learning and leveraging artificial intelligence that will advance the study as well as cardiovascular disease treatment.


Naturally, AI is becoming quickly an important supplement with regards to all kinds of medical imaging; professionals have been taking notice of this.  Throughout this month, Healthcare IT News has been reporting on this, such as how the University of Virginia Health System was able to leverage AI for interactive multimedia reports that showed improvements in communication among radiologists.  Another example is how Mount Sinai is using X-Rays to research convolutional neural networks.   

Dr. Patrick M. McCarthy, who is the chief of cardiac surgery at Northwestern Medicine Hospital, said that, “Deep learning will have a profound impact on cardiac imaging in the future, and the ability to simplify acquisition will be a tremendous advance to bring echocardiograms to the point-of-care in primary care offices.” 

Charles Cadieu, who is the co-founder and CEO of Bay Labs, added: “Incorporating our AI software with deep learning technology into clinical practice could allow non-specialist medical professionals to acquire images to support cardiologist interpretation and clinical decision-making and may lead to improved patient outcomes through earlier detection and monitoring,”