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Artificial intelligence comes to endoscopy

Dr. Thomas Schiller (left) and Dr. Drake Rippelmeyer (right) show off the new artificial intelligence endoscopy device.
Dr. Thomas Schiller (left) and Dr. Drake Rippelmeyer (right) show off the new artificial intelligence endoscopy device.

Doctors at Veterans Health Care System of the Ozarks (VHSO) recently implemented a new medical device that uses artificial intelligence (AI) during colonoscopies to assist in recognizing and diagnosing cancerous growths.

It’s estimated that 90 percent of colon cancers are curable if caught early. Nineteen million colonoscopies are performed every year in the U.S. to reduce the incidence of colon cancer.

“We are excited to be the first hospital in the state of Arkansas to utilize this new device. VHSO is demonstrating the commitment to the VHA mission by utilizing cutting edge technology in the care provided to the men and women who served their country,” said Jenifer Thornbrugh, Nurse Manager.

Reducing cancer risk

With cancer being the second-leading cause of death in the U.S., and colorectal cancer being the third-leading cause of cancer-related deaths, the new device has demonstrated increased polyp detection rates, and every 1% increase in adenoma detection rate reduces the risk of colorectal cancer by 3%.

The computer-aided detection system can precisely recognize surface characteristics of polyps, much like the concept of facial recognition software. Part of this new fully integrated AI endoscopy unit comes from in-depth algorithms developed from images of more than 13 million polyps of varying shapes and sizes.

The National Gastroenterology and Hepatology Program received funding to purchase a number of these devices which are easily integrated with the endoscope processor. They work by placing a “bounding box” around polyps on the endoscopy monitor

“Assuring that Veterans have access to a high-quality colonoscopy has been our priority. Deployment of these AI devices is part of that effort,” said Jason A. Dominitz, MD, MHS, Executive Director, National Gastroenterology and Hepatology Program.

VHSO is excited to bring this cutting-edge technology to their Veterans.


By Andrew “Jay” Thompson, Public Affairs Specialist, Veterans Health Care System of the Ozarks.

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