ADA says autonomous AI meets diabetes standards of care

The news is being touted by IDx, makers of the first medical device approved by FDA to use artificial intelligence to assess diabetic retinopathy.
By Mike Miliard
03:26 PM

In a move that could help win over some skeptics about the value and efficacy of AI in clinical care, The American Diabetes Association, in its new set of clinical standards, recognizes the use of autonomous artificial intelligence for the screening of some medical conditions.

WHY IT MATTERS
The ADA's new 2020 Standards of Medical Care in Diabetes includes language noting that “AI systems that detect more than mild diabetic retinopathy and diabetic macular edema authorized for use by the FDA represent an alternative to traditional screening approaches.”

The clinical standards – published earlier this month in the peer-reviewed journal Diabetes Care – represent a new source for evidence-based best practices, consulted by hospitals and health systems, physicians, insurers and quality organizations.

While acknowledging that autonomous AI can be an alternative to traditional screening, however, the ADA specifies that it feels the "benefits and optimal utilization of this type of screening have yet to be fully determined."

In addition, it cautions that "artificial intelligence systems should not be used for patients with known retinopathy, prior retinopathy treatment, or symptoms of vision impairment."

THE LARGER TREND
Still, the initial nod of approval is being welcomed by IDx-DR, which in 2018 became the first (and so far only) autonomous AI diagnostic system to win de novo approval from FDA for the detection of diabetic retinopathy and macular edema.

The technology is currently deployed at several major health systems, including University of Iowa Healthcare, which was the first to put it to use, just four months after its FDA approval.

While some experts had voiced some skepticism about the clearance of IDx-DR back in 2018, its use in clinical settings has only expanded, and the number and variety of other AI devices like it should only continue to increase.

Still as, Dr. Michael Abramoff, founder and executive chairman of IDx f has said, it's key that autonomous AI applications are "thoroughly validated and developed in a clinically safe and explainable way that builds trust with patients and clinicians. Safety needs to be the number one concern for responsible AI companies."

ON THE RECORD
"The ADA’s inclusion of our technology in its Standards of Care marks a significant move toward mainstream adoption of autonomous AI in clinical care," said Abramoff in a statement.

"Our early customers are visionary leaders who foresaw that autonomous AI would one day become a standard of care for diabetic retinopathy screening, and taking that leap is paying off for them. Already, health systems that are using IDx-DR have experienced significant improvements in accessibility, efficiency and compliance rates, unleashing massive potential for cost savings and improved patient outcomes."

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Twitter: @MikeMiliardHITN
Email the writer: mike.miliard@himssmedia.com

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