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India Conducts First 5G Driven, Artificial Intelligence-Guided Colonoscopy Trial


5G and AI-assisted Colonoscopy will improve accuracy of detection rates of colon cancer by capturing information correctly and reducing errors, say experts.

Have you ever thought how 5G technology is going to impact the healthcare sector? One of its benefits is that it will lead to faster and more accurate detection of diseases. This is what we saw in India’s first 5G driven, Artificial Intelligence-guided Colonoscopy trial.

The trial was conducted by Bharti Airtel, in collaboration with Apollo Hospitals, HealthNet Global, AWS and Avesha. Use of Artificial Intelligence (AI) on Airtel’s 5G technology with ultra-low latency and high processing capabilities resulted in detection of the colon cancer much faster and with greater accuracy, the team announced on Thursday.

Diagnosis of colon cancer becomes easier and faster

As per current protocol, colon cancer is detected through colonoscopy procedure which is manual and requires great attention and time from medical practitioners for accurate detection. This procedure is performed using a device comprising a light, flexible tube with light, camera and tools at one end, which are used to extract samples to identify an infected polyp. Not only is the procedure long, its discomforting for patients and for the doctors and nurses who have to perform this procedure which takes around 30 to 40 minutes per case.

In an AI-guided colonoscopy procedure, the image processing happened in real time without any lag even when the physician moved the scope through the colon for it to be overlaid on top of the right element of the colon. The advent of this technology enables an “extra pair of eyes” for physicians and improves the detection rate of polyps, thus saving lives and vastly improving patient care.

The data was processed by Avesha edge inferencing applications on AWS platforms in real time which ensured analysis closer to the end points. AI-assisted Colonoscopy Polyp Detection trial will help doctors to improve quality of patient care, improve accuracy of detection rates by capturing information correctly and reducing errors, the experts said.

Colon cancer in India: Who should undergo colonoscopy?

Colonoscopy procedures for early detection and prevention of cancers is being advised for all men and women above 45 years of age. In India, where the target population is large in terms of numbers, solutions built on 5G and AI are key to assist doctors to bring quality care to the maximum population. 5G, Edge computing and Artificial Intelligence can significantly improve patient outcomes by assisting in proper and timely diagnoses.

Ajay Chitkara, CEO and Director, Airtel Business, believes that ultra-fast, low latency 5G networks will transform the Healthcare sector in the country.

Dr. Sangita Reddy, Joint Managing Director, Apollo Hospitals Group, added, “By augmenting doctor’s ability to detect, AI has been proved to improve physician’s accuracy. Early detection and removal of polyps can easily avoid them becoming cancerous.”

Vaishali Kasture, Head – Enterprise, Mid-Market & Global Businesses, India & South Asia AWS India (Amazon Web Services India P Ltd) said, “5G and edge technologies offer high speed and real-time data analysis that can help transform the delivery of healthcare. AI inference provides better insight and information to healthcare professionals to predict, diagnose, and treat patients more effectively.”

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