For the first time, the US Food and Drug Administration has permitted an artificial intelligence diagnostic device that does not require a specialized doctor to explain the results. The software program, called IDx-DR, can detect a form of eye illness by looking at images of the retina.
A nurse or doctor uploads images of the patient’s retina taken with a special retinal camera. The IDx-DR software algorithm first suggests whether the image uploaded is high-quality enough to find a result. Then, it analyzes the photos to determine whether the patient does or does not have diabetic retinopathy, a form of eye illness where too much blood sugar damages the blood vessels in the back of the eye. Diabetic retinopathy is the most general vision complexity for people with diabetes. But is still neatly rare there are about 200,00 cases per year. In one clinical experiment that used more than 900 photos, IDx-DR exactly detected retinopathy about 87 percent of the time. And also could exactly identify those who did not have the illness about 90 percent of the time.
The application is unique because it’s autonomous and there’s not a specialist looking over the shoulder of this algorithm. IDx-DR builder Michael Abràmoff told Science News. It makes the clinical judgment on its own. This means that the technology can be used by a nurse or doctor who’s not an eye expert, making diagnosis more accessible. For example, patients wouldn’t require waiting for an eye specialist to be obtainable to find a diagnosis.
IDx-DR is a section of a growing trend of algorithms learning how to spot and diagnose illness. Before this year, scientists trained several algorithms to learn how to identify conditions including age-related vision loss and diabetic retinopathy. Google, too, is training its DeepMind AI to spot eye illness. Now that the FDA has cleared IDx-DR, it might lead the pathway to the latest slew of autonomous diagnostic tests.
And also trade-offs they bring. These diagnoses could be more advantageous for patients and probably even more proper than doctors. But of course, not having a specialist looking over the shoulder, as Abràmoff puts it, raises the question of who will be liable when the diagnosis is false.