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Time to diagnosis of intracranial hemorrhages reduced by 96 percent

DANVILLE, Pa. – Doctors and researchers at Geisinger have trained computers to “read” CT scans of patients’ heads to detect a life-threatening form of internal bleeding known as intracranial hemorrhage.

By using this innovative approach, Geisinger specialists have reduced the time to diagnosis of intracranial hemorrhages by 96 percent.

This form of internal head bleeding affects approximately 50,000 patients per year in the United States, with 47 percent of patients dying within 30 days. Early and accurate diagnosis is critical for these patients.

Machine learning – using computers to detect patterns in data -- has been so successful, it is now being introduced into the regular clinical workflow at Geisinger.

“This is not about replacing doctors with machines,” said Aalpen Patel, M.D., chair, Geisinger System Radiology. “This is about the smart use of machine learning technology to aid medical providers in delivering better and faster care, especially in these areas where time is critical.” 

As an early adopter of the electronic health record, Geisinger has been able to combine radiographic and other medical imaging data that allows specialists to train computers to accurately pinpoint the worst cases. This flags the most urgent images for priority review by radiologists, leading to earlier diagnosis and life-saving emergency interventions. 

In a recent case, an 88-year-old woman presenting with symptoms thought to be related to her medication was rushed to the emergency department after the machine algorithm flagged her CT scan for urgent attention. As it turns out, she was actually suffering from an intracranial hemorrhage which was safely resolved by medical intervention.

“The use of intelligent computer assistance is imperative in order to sustain and improve medical care,” said Brandon K. Fornwalt, M.D., Ph.D., associate professor and director, Geisinger Department of Imaging Science & Innovation. 

“Geisinger is proud to be at the forefront of clinical applications of these technologies,” said Fornwalt, who is applying machine learning in other areas, including patients with congenital heart disease.

 

About Geisinger
One of the nation’s most innovative health services organizations, Geisinger serves more than 1.5 million patients in Pennsylvania and New Jersey. The system includes 13 hospital campuses, a nearly 600,000-member health plan, two research centers and the Geisinger Commonwealth School of Medicine. Geisinger is known for its focus on caring and innovative programs including the ProvenCare® best-practice approach to maximize quality, safety and value; ProvenHealth Navigator® advanced medical home; Springboard Health® population health program to improve the health of an entire community; ProvenExperience™ to provide refunds to patients unhappy with their care experience; and Geisinger’s MyCode® Community Health Initiative, the largest healthcare system-based precision health project in the world. With more than 215,000 volunteer participants enrolled, MyCode is conducting extensive research and returning medically actionable results to participants. A physician-led organization, with approximately 32,000 employees and more than 1,800 employed physicians, Geisinger leverages an estimated $12.7 billion positive annual impact on the Pennsylvania and New Jersey economies. Repeatedly recognized nationally for integration, quality and service, Geisinger has a long-standing commitment to patient care, medical education, research and community service. For more information, visit www.geisinger.org, or connect with us on Facebook, Instagram, LinkedIn and Twitter.