On the 12th of August, i-True Group, an International Training and Research in Uro-Oncology and Endourology organized an International Webinar to explore the potential of Artificial Intelligence in urology treatments, alongside a panel of experts with familiarity in diverse fields. It was moderated by Dr Bhavan Prasad Pai, the Vice President of i-True, Consultant Urologist and Robotic Surgeon at Freeman Hospital in the United Kingdom and Dr Dashrathraj K Shetty, General Secretary at i-BAT and Faculty of Engineering at Manipal Institue of Technology, Manipal. The International Webinar was convened by Prof. Nithesh Naik, Board Member at i-TRUE and Faculty of Engineering at Manipal Institute of Technology, Manipal
The webinar focused on various aspects of Artificial Intelligence and Machine Learning, and the basis through which these technologies can be implemented in medicine, and can supplement doctors through the processes of testing, analysis and diagnosis, while also reducing costs and making treatments more affordable.
The first speaker in line was Mr Maneesh Suralkar, Product Manager of SigTuple Technologies, Bangalore. In his presentation, the target was to bring to notice the endless potential of AI in making healthcare accurate, affordable and accessible to all, dubbing them the 3 A’s. He described the many shortcomings of a traditional diagnosis system, where a doctor is prone to make a human error and cause a misdiagnosis. Additionally, some testing, such as a Polymerase chain reaction (PCR) test requires a microbiologist’s expertise and several days in wait time. He also highlighted existing applications of AI technologies in medical diagnostic applications, by utilising Natural Language Processing techniques, and image recognition that can aid accurate scanning of internal body systems. He concluded with the infrastructure that is already made, or is in the process of being developed, such as 5G networking and medical robotics that will help the advancement of AI in medicine, and assist in creating better infrastructure for AI in medicine.
This was followed by a few words from Dr Milap Shah, from Kasturba Medical College, Manipal’s Department of Urology. He highlighted a roadblock that exists in the way to introduce these technologies in the field of urology — a lack of expertise. AI is a vast field on its own, and exploring it is challenging enough for someone with a background in computer science, let alone a professional in medicine, which is the barrier of entry for anyone looking to explore. He simplifies the distinctions of all terms, techniques and models that comprise AI, Machine Learning and Deep Learning, with simple examples that were easy to understand for the target audience. He went rapidly through learning models, and other very technical concepts, but with appropriate analogies from urology itself.
The next speaker in the webinar was Dr Naeem Soomro, Director of Robotic Surgery Division, Freeman Hospital in the UK. Through his experience in robotic surgery by working in the department that explores that field in Freeman Hospital, he was able to educate the audience in the role of AI in surgical research, as presently, the number of surgeries needed to be performed to achieve competency, is arbitrary. To that effect, he discussed the benefits that AI would bring to the operating table, in making surgeons learn performing surgeries in a better way. He explained the levels of autonomy that robots could function in the operation theatre. Existing technologies such as Microsoft’s Hololens Mixed Reality also can be used to teach students better, as he highlighted.
Next, a presentation was delivered on computational pathology, a data-driven approach towards pathological research, by Dr Renu Ethirajan, the Pathology Director at SigTuple Technologies, Bangalore. In her view, it is a new discipline on its own, and she laid out the underlying infrastructure that would be needed to make computational pathology synergise well with established systems in medical sciences and research. The benefits of this discipline would be another method of channelising high costs in a better way, a way to measure quality within the system, and a better network for pathologists to work in for performing more beneficial research over traditional pathology.
In the same vein as the presentation of Mr Maneesh Suralkar, Dr Mahesh Kumar CV, Co-founder of Orbit Shifters, Hyderabad, discussed IoMT, the Internet of Medical Things. IoMT devices have many necessary and innovative applications, for example, to monitor newborn babies and their breathing, to prevent them from having issues that may cause harm to the baby. He pivoted to AI, where he explained the stratification of AI that can have different applications based on the level of functionality it may have. Other devices that can be networked as medical devices are wearable monitors, implants and hospital equipment, all of them being useful in a more convenient, faster-paced and safer medical experience for both patients and professionals.
Lastly, Mr Amith Kamath of Mathworks India gave us a piece on how Deep Learning can be used to supplement 3D segmentation, which is a technique that helps doctors and researchers separate areas or parts of interest from medical imaging. Deep Learning would streamline the process involved, leading to faster and more accurate probing. Additionally, he introduced the usage of Artificial Neural Networking technologies that will help solve increasingly complex problems. He stressed that we would be hearing about them more and more in the years to come. As Mathworks is also the creator behind MATLAB, an incredibly powerful tool used in mathematical and scientific research and modelling, he also showed a few practical applications of it in medical imaging and digital pathology.
In the end, there was a live Q&A session with all presenters and moderators, where they discussed, amongst each other as well, the logistics and the further applications that the platforms of AI and Machine Learning can provide to the field of urology. They argued for standardisation wherever essential, as they would help make collaborative work easier and incentivise the development of architecture and infrastructure needed to make all this happen.
The entire webinar was an incredibly concise view of a very active and vital field of expertise that has enormous potential to revolutionise due to technologies that are still being explored and developed themselves, and it was an inspiring panel of people that presented all of these developments, making for an exciting discussion. Medical research can significantly progress with AI and related technologies, and medicine ultimately saves lives, so any growth possible there is always welcome and vital. We wish all research in this field is groundbreaking and leads to substantial advancements in the economy, quality and efficacy of medical science.
Note: The event was in association with Sun Pharmaceuticals, BMESI Manipal Chapter, IECSE Manipal. MTTN was the Official Media Partner.
~ Written by Yatharth Sood for MTTN
~ Edited by Ankitha Giridhar for MTTN