Virtua Health launches AI companion for colon cancer screenings

Proctologist holding endoscope during colonoscopy.
Photo credit stefanamer/Getty Images

SOUTH JERSEY (KYW Newsradio) — Gastroenterology doctors at Virtua Health are getting an A.I. assist with colonoscopy exams.

Doctors at all five Virtua hospitals are already using the GI Genius endoscopy module to better identify polyps during a colonoscopy.

“I like to use the analogy, it’s similar to a backup camera or camera sensors in a car,” said Dr. Gregory Seltzer, Virtua’s medical director for Gastroenterology and Digestive Health.

According to Seltzer, the doctor has control of the device and artificial intelligence technology helps spot small polyps and highlights them with a green box on the computer monitor for the doctor to see.

“A lot of providers have also seen it as an extra set of eyes which makes them more comfortable in saying that they’ve adequately looked at this section of the colon,” he said.

Seltzer added colon cancer begins with those polyps, so it’s extremely important to remove them before they can grow into a problem. Everyone 45 years old and over is encouraged to get a colonoscopy for early detection.

According to Virtua, studies show that this method can increase polyp detection rates, and that every 1% increase in that detection rate can potentially reduce the risk of cancer by 3%.

Featured Image Photo Credit: stefanamer/Getty Images