On May 17, Partners HealthCare joined forces with another Boston institution, GE Electric Co., to launch an ambitious 10-year collaboration to rapidly develop, validate, and strategically integrate deep learning technology into every aspect of the patient journey.
Working with GE Healthcare, this decade-long effort will be executed through the newly formed Massachusetts General Hospital and Brigham and Women’s Hospital Center for Clinical Data Science and will feature co-located, multidisciplinary teams with broad access to data, computational infrastructure and clinical expertise.
“This is an important moment for medicine,” said David Torchiana, MD, CEO of Partners HealthCare in announcing the collaboration with newly named GE CEO John Flannery. “Clinicians are inundated with data, and the patient experience suffers from inefficiencies in the healthcare industry. By combining the expertise at Mass General and Brigham and Women’s with the spirit of innovation at GE, this partnership has the resources and vision to accelerate the development and adoption of deep learning technology. Together, we can empower clinicians with the tools needed to store, analyze and leverage the flood of information to more effectively deliver care to patients.”
Partners’ clinical and technology experts, working alongside engineers and developers at GE, will begin by building software to help doctors more quickly and accurately interpret medical images. These solutions will be built upon an open platform that will enable Partners, GE and third-party developers to rapidly prototype, validate and share applications with hospitals and clinics around the world.
“We are literally inundating our clinicians with data,” said Torchiana. “We have more and more information, and the information comes at our clinicians in a way that is almost unmanageable and at times can be overwhelming. Artificial intelligence can help make sense of that data.”
Once these deep learning applications are developed and deployed, clinicians and patients will benefit from a variety of tools that span disease areas, diagnostic modalities and treatment strategies and have the potential to do everything from decrease unnecessary biopsies to streamline clinical workflows to increase the amount of time clinicians spend with patients versus performing administrative tasks.
“The exciting thing about AI techniques like deep learning is that, like a brain, the more information the technology is provided, the smarter it becomes,” said GE’s John Flannery.. “As the partnership and technology evolves, we will help prove deep learning’s potential to advance previously small improvements in quality, cost and access to transformational changes in medicine.”
With the initial diagnostic imaging focus, early applications will address cases like determining the prognostic impact of stroke, identifying fractures in the emergency room, tracking how tumors grow or shrink after the administration of novel therapies, and indicating the likelihood of cancer on ultrasound. The applications are being developed based on three criteria: 1) patient impact, 2) technical capability and 3) market appetite. This is to ensure that the solutions being developed are not solely dependent on the data that’s available but specifically target the top clinician pain points and the most critically ill patients. The goal is to bring the most promising solutions to market faster, so they can start making an impact for hospitals, health systems and patients globally sooner.
“We’re evolving the healthcare system to be able to take advantage of the benefits of deep learning, bringing together hospitals, data sets and clinical and technical minds unlike ever before,” said Keith Dreyer, DO, PhD, Chief Data Science Officer, Departments of Radiology at MGH and BWH. “The scope reflects the reality that advancements in clinical data science require substantial commitments of capital, expertise, personnel and cooperation between the system and industry.”
Partners Media Roundtable
Partners HealthCare and GE Executives at A.I. Announcement
Mark Michalski, MD
Executive Director, MGH & BWH Center for Clinical Data Science
David Torchiana, MD
CEO, Partners HealthCare
CEO, GE Healthcare
CEO, GE Healthcare IT
Keith Dreyer, DO, PhD
Vice Chairman, Radiology, Massachusetts General Hospital; Chief Data Science Officer, Departments of Radiology, Massachusetts General Hospital and Brigham and Women’s Hospital; Associate Professor, Radiology, Harvard Medical School