Boston Children's Hospital, GE Healthcare to build brain imaging software in the cloud
Boston Children's Hospital and GE Healthcare are working together on new pediatric brain software they plan to take to market.
Together they plan to develop applications for better diagnosing and treating childhood diseases. Up first are diseases that affect the brain. They will focus the work on diagnostic accuracy in pediatric brain scans.
Every day, tens of thousands of children undergo medical imaging. At Boston Children's alone, nearly a thousand imaging studies are performed each day.
For general radiologists and pediatric imagers alike, the rapid changes in the body that occur as part of normal childhood development can pose challenges to accurately differentiating normal from abnormal.
Boston Children's and GE Healthcare will employ the high-volume computing power of the GE Health Cloud and the clinical knowledge of radiologists at Boston Children's to develop a decision support platform that can distinguish the large variability in brain MRI scans.
The system will be pre-loaded with normative reference scans from children of different ages for doctors worldwide to use as a benchmark when reading scans of pediatric patients.
"Interpreting pediatric brain scans requires a specific understanding of the developing brain," said Richard Robertson, MD, radiologist-in-chief at Boston Children's, in a statement. "Since most pediatric imaging is not performed in children's hospitals by specialists, this new digital tool, once available, will provide non-specialists with access to knowledge and expertise to help effectively diagnose children."
"Pediatric brain scans of children under the age of four can be particularly tricky to read because the brain is rapidly developing during this period of childhood," added Sanjay Prabhu, MD, pediatric neuroradiologist at Boston Children's. "Since pediatric neuroradiologists are very scarce, we approached GE Healthcare to collaborate on the development of digital tools to help physicians of varying expertise read the scans."
During infancy and childhood, complicated disorders, especially when affecting the brain symmetrically, may be misinterpreted as normal brain maturation, the radiologists explained. Conversely, normal expected developmental changes are sometimes misinterpreted as pathologic leading to unnecessary follow-on imaging or other diagnostic tests, which can be expensive, stressful and inconvenient to the child and family.