Every day, radiologists have to diagnose an increasing number of patients whose lungs are infected with the Coronavirus. To help radiologists quickly recognize the virus’ patterns, Singapore-based company Lifetrack Medical System decided to open its LifeSys digital platform to the public to create a global repository of COVID-19 positive chest CT cases.
Launched in 2016, LifeSys eases the daily work of radiologists by speeding up the treatment and transmission of images, allowing prompter diagnoses and faster encoding. As a result, radiologists can analyze more cases per day, without even needing to be in contact with patients. They can also work remotely for multiple hospitals and clinics from different countries on the same day. Riana Sandra Chua, Business Operations Analyst at LifeTrack Medical System, explained:
“LifeSys has the ability to match supply and demand between healthcare providers in need of radiologist reading services, and healthcare providers or radiologist groups who can provide these services. For example, a major hospital in Manila with radiology residents covering the nighttime shift can contract with a provincial hospital in the same country to receive patient cases from them. Across countries, a radiology group from an Indian hospital can provide full diagnosis to a hospital in Africa where there are few, if any, radiologists available.”
Given that the number of radiologists per patient worldwide varies a lot from one country to the other—85 radiologists for 1,000 patients in the USA compared to less than 1 in Thailand for instance— LifeSys can connect professionals to patients wherever and whenever needed.
Identifying and Recognizing COVID-19 Patterns
With the Coronavirus outbreak, Lifetrack Medical Systems decided to open its radiology platform to the public to crowdsource diagnostic images of COVID-19. Riana Sandra Chua said:
“Creating a global repository of COVID-19 positive chest CT cases allows radiologists worldwide to educate themselves in identifying and recognizing COVID-19 patterns, crucial for accelerating the diagnosis and treatment.”
The repository is freely available for individuals, medical institutions, hospitals, health departments and health ministries to register and share their COVID-19 chest CT images globally. She added:
“We are currently reaching out to public health authorities who would like to explore setting up a national COVID-19 registry for their country. We’ve already integrated with a deep learning partner to automatically send chest CT scans to their model to provide supporting analysis (e.g. Ground Glass %) to physicians, radiologists and researchers and we are exploring how to do the same for Chest X-Rays.”
For authorities, this means that they could use the platform and its software to improve early diagnosis and screening of COVID-19 patients, minimizing the need for invasive procedures and reducing hospitalizations.