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Hartford HealthCare and Ibex Launch Research Initiative on AI-powered Solution to Improve Breast Cancer Diagnosis

Hartford HealthCare is among the first health organizations in America to use artificial intelligence technology to help pathologists with cancer diagnosis and to improve patient care

Ibex Medical Analytics, a pioneer in artificial intelligence (AI)-powered cancer diagnostics, and Hartford HealthCare, a comprehensive and integrated healthcare system with more than 400 locations serving more than 17,000 people daily, announced a clinical research and innovation collaboration involving Ibex’s Galen Breast, an AI solution helping physicians deliver high-quality diagnosis and improved care for breast cancer patients.

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The collaboration will validate clinical performance of the Galen Breast algorithm in a retrospective study and evaluate use of the Galen Breast Second Read application and digital workflow in live clinical use at Hartford HealthCare.  

Breast cancer is the most common malignant disease in women worldwide. There are more than two million new cases each year globally, and approximately one in eight American women is expected to develop invasive breast cancer over the course of her lifetime. As such, accurate and timely diagnosis is key to guiding treatment decisions and improving survival rates. 

Over the last several years, an increase in the number of cancer cases has coincided with rapid advances in personalized medicine. As a result, growing workloads have been imposed on pathology labs and health systems like Hartford HealthCare, emphasizing the need for complementary clinical decision-support tools to help pathologists more rapidly and accurately detect cancer. 

Ibex’s Galen Breast supports pathologists by providing AI insights that help detect and grade different types of invasive and non-invasive breast cancer. The solution was developed by a team of pathologists, data scientists and software engineers who implemented advanced deep learning technologies and trained algorithms on hundreds of thousands of image samples. Galen Breast demonstrated very high accuracy levels in a multi-site, blinded clinical study1, and is already in use around the world in everyday clinical practice for improving the quality of diagnosis2, detecting diagnostic error and enhancing patient safety and experience.

The Ibex solution promises to greatly impact the care given to breast cancer patients, underscoring the commitment Hartford HealthCare has made to pursuing innovative new approaches to patient care, noted Dr. Barry Stein, the system’s vice president and chief clinical innovation officer.

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“Even though patients rarely interact with the pathologists examining their tissue samples, their interpretive expertise greatly affects the care received,” he said.

Dr. Srini Mandavilli, chief of pathology and laboratory medicine at Hartford Hospital, added that such technology has the potential to support the traditional microscopic evaluation of cancers done by pathologists. This could complement the work in a positive way, and be of help particularly at a time when pathologist staffing and recruitments are challenging amid a global increase in cancer cases. The department has begun using digital pathology (digitizing tissue sections on glass slides) with slide scanners, which Dr. Mandavilli said provides the material to be evaluated by AI technology. 

Hartford HealthCare pathologists could begin using Galen to analyze all cases after they review slides on the microscope, added Dr. Margaret Assad, program director of the selective pathology fellowship at Hartford Hospital.

“This AI assistant provides a higher safety net with minimal, additional effort,” she said.

“We are proud to partner with Hartford HealthCare to support their ongoing digital transformation,” said Joel Duckworth, Chief Revenue Officer at Ibex Medical Analytics. “We are committed to helping all of our customers provide precise, timely and personalized diagnosis to all patients. With Ibex’s trusted AI and advanced digital pathology technologies, Hartford HealthCare can empower their pathologists to deliver highly accurate and prompt diagnoses, with the potential to directly impact prognosis for patients, setting a new standard in breast cancer care quality in the United States.” 

The announcement is a manifestation of the work being done as part of Hartford HealthCare’s 2020 strategic partnership with the Israeli Innovation Authority to advance solutions that improve access, quality and safety, and patient experience, according to David Whitehead, executive vice president and chief strategy and transformation officer at Hartford HealthCare.

“In forging this vital connection, Hartford HealthCare took a tremendous step forward in its commitment to collaborate with Israeli companies like Ibex and develop innovative technologies, products and services within the healthcare sector,” Whitehead said. 

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