1QBit and Canadian health care providers team up to empower front-line clinicians with Health Canada’s first approved AI tool for radiology in the fight against COVID-19
Health and technology providers have joined forces to deploy XrAI, a machine learning tool that acts as a co-pilot for clinicians to increase accuracy in detecting lung abnormalities associated with diseases such as COVID-19 infection, pneumonia, tuberculosis, and lung cancer.
Vancouver, Canada—May 7, 2020—1QBit, a global leader in advanced computing and software development, and its partners representing health authorities from East to West, have received funding from the Digital Technology Supercluster to accelerate the clinical deployment of XrAI, the first radiology AI (artificial intelligence) tool to be certified as a Class III Medical Device by Health Canada.
XrAI (pronounced “X-ray”) is a machine learning, clinical decision support tool that improves the accuracy and consistency of chest X-ray interpretation. This tool supports medical teams by identifying lung abnormalities on chest radiographs within the teams’ existing clinical workflow, requiring little to no further training. Its analysis capabilities empower clinicians with this information so that they can more effectively manage patients with COVID-19 infections or other respiratory complications, such as SARS, pneumonia, and tuberculosis.
“As a physician, I recognize that trust is the currency with which health systems operate. So we designed XrAI to act as a trusted co-pilot that helps doctors and nurses on the front lines. The tool identifies a lung abnormality and displays this information in terms of a confidence level. This is intuitive to busy clinicians, as it reflects a familiar way in which a radiologist would share their opinion,” said Dr. Deepak Kaura, Chief Medical Officer of 1QBit. “We were so impressed by how quickly the Saskatchewan Health Authority mobilized to conduct the clinical trial for XrAI, which had actually been planned for a later date. Equally impressive was Health Canada, whose team was detail-oriented, responding diligently and acting effectively to grant us approval.”
XrAI received certification as a Class III Medical Device by Health Canada last month, based on rigorous review and the results of a single-blind, randomized control clinical trial. 1QBit trained the algorithm on 250,000 cases taken from more than 500,000 anonymized radiograph images from Canadian health organizations, and open and subscription-based datasets. The data covered a broad spectrum of diseases, across geographically and demographically diverse populations, while the tool’s features were designed with input from a broad cross-section of physicians and other health care professionals.
“Many physicians recognize the value of machine learning applied to our field. However, we are not willing to sacrifice the scientific rigour upon which medicine our profession has been built. XrAI is one of the first AI tools that I have seen that has been built and validated with a randomized control trial across multiple physician groups,” said Dr. Paul Babyn, Physician Executive of the Saskatchewan Health Authority. “The trust that 1QBit’s tool has garnered as a result of its rigorous approach is what I believe has led to such a prompt and positive response from the medical community.”
The ability to get XrAI into the hands of clinicians is being accelerated by funding from the Digital Technology Supercluster through its COVID-19 Program. This award is contributing to the implementation costs for partnering health care authorities to deploy the software across their clinical systems, which span hospitals and clinics in British Columbia, Saskatchewan, and Ontario. Microsoft is providing support for 1QBit as they implement XrAI with their partners.
“XrAI is yet another example of the Supercluster’s ‘all hands on deck’ approach to overcoming the challenges presented by COVID-19. By collaborating closely with health authorities, 1QBit has allowed us to expedite this critical technology to get into the hands of practitioners across the country and contribute to what we expect maybe a turning point in the speed at which we identify abnormalities and treat those infected with COVID-19,” said Sue Paish, CEO of the Digital Technology Supercluster.
Early on, 1QBit engaged health authorities, front-line health care workers, and technology providers to ensure the roll-out of its technology would be led by physicians. 1QBit’s partners include the Saskatchewan Health Authority, the Fraser Health Authority, the First Nations Health Authority, Trillium Health Partners, the Vancouver Coastal Health Authority, the University of British Columbia’s Faculty of Medicine as well as The Red Cross. Trans-national implementation of XrAI is now underway and will provide a comprehensive and inclusive elevation of care from West to East, including First Nations, the north, and rural communities, as well as urban centres.
1QBit is continuing to partner with new clinicians and health organizations interested in arming their teams with XrAI to enhance the quality of care, and to improve the efficiency of health resources during the current COVID-19 pandemic and beyond.
1QBit is a global leader in advanced computing and software development. Founded in 2012, 1QBit builds hardware-agnostic software and partners with companies taking on computationally exhaustive problems in advanced materials, life sciences, energy, and finance. Trusted by Fortune 500 companies and top research institutions internationally, 1QBit is seen as an industry leader in quantum computing, machine learning, software development and hardware optimization. Headquartered in Vancouver, Canada, the company employs over 120 mathematicians, computer scientists, physicists, chemists, software developers, physicians, biomedical experts, and quantum computing specialists. 1QBit develops novel solutions to computational problems along with the full stack of classical and quantum computing, from hardware innovations to commercial application development.
About Digital Technology Supercluster:
The Digital Technology Supercluster is led by global companies like Canfor, MDA, Microsoft, Telus, Teck Resources Limited, Mosaic Forest Management, LifeLabs, and Terramera, and tech industry leaders such as D-Wave Systems, Finger Food Advanced Technology Group, and LlamaZOO. Members also include BC’s post-secondary institutions, including the Emily Carr University of Art + Design, the British Columbia Institute of Technology, the University of British Columbia, and Simon Fraser University. A full list of members can be found here.
About the COVID-19 Program:
The COVID-19 Program funds projects that contribute to improving the health and safety of Canadians, supporting Canada’s ability to address issues created by the COVID-19 pandemic. In addition, these projects will build the expertise and capacity needed to address and anticipate issues that may arise in future health crises. More information can be found here.
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