Oman to use AI for breast cancer screening

AI had 96% success rate of diagnosing breast cancer in five hospitals


Artificial Intelligence (AI) is now going to be used to diagnose breast cancer, Ministry of Health officials have said.

"This reflects the Ministry of Health’s continuous efforts to improve the quality of health care services in Oman by adapting new technologies to diagnose breast cancer in its early stages."

The decision was taken after AI had a 96 per cent success rate of diagnosing breast cancer in five hospitals.

In a statement the Information Technology Authority (ITA), said, “The Ministry of Health and the Information Technology Authority announced the launch of a new system to early diagnosis of breast cancer in 5 hospitals around the Sultanate.”

It added, “A successful pilot was conducted by MoH, ITA, Microsoft, and ScreenPoint to employ Artificial Intelligence (AI) in diagnosing breast cancer. The successful pilot encouraged MoH to circulate the system in 5 hospitals around the Sultanate to facilitate providing the necessary early healthcare to the diagnosed women.”

MoH and the ITA has announced that the project’s pilot will last for one year to measure the efficiency of the system and the possibility of circulating it around the Sultanate hospitals. The circulation will be be done through integration with Al Shifa system and the digital screening system.

The pilot will run in the Royal, Khoula, Al Buraimi, Ibra, and Sultan Qaboos Hospital in Salalah in order to study the challenges that might accompany the system and how to overcome them.

H.E Dr. Ali Bin Talib Al Hinai, MoH Undersecretary for Planning Affairs, said: “This project reflects the Ministry of Health’s continuous efforts to improve the quality of health care services in Oman by adapting new technologies to diagnose breast cancer in its early stages. The MoH employed AI systematically as we ran a pilot to diagnose the early stages of the disease and comparing them with the traditional ways of doing it. The positive results encouraged us to go forward by applying AI in 5 hospitals around the Sultanate and keep track with the results closely, and accordingly decide the way forward.”

Dr Salim Sultan Al Ruzaiqi, CEO of Information Technology Authority said: “This project is part of a strategic vision to employ 4th Industrial Revolution technologies to improve the national services provided in Oman such as artificial Intelligence, Internet of Things, virtual reality, augmented reality, block chain and so on. ITA works to found an excellence center in Oman that partner with international companies to offer innovative solutions to employ industry 4.0 technologies that are aligned with the needs of the government entities, with less efforts and costs.

“The healthcare sector is one of the fastest growing sectors around the world in AI and there are evident examples from around the world in applying these tech solutions. Therefore comes the agreement with MoH to start employing AI in breast cancer diagnosis. The positive results encouraged us to employ AI in the diagnosis of other diseases.”

Breast cancer is one of the most common diseases in Oman, being 24.4 per cent of the total diagnosed cancer cases in the Sultanate. Currently there are more than 200 cases diagnosed every year and it is predicted that the percentage will increase annually to reach 975 cases by 2040.

Statistics show that 5 specialists can handle 49920 mammograms annually. It has been predicted that when the system is operational, the number of cases being handled will increase to 99840 annually.

Moreover, the treatment costs will decrease significantly from OMR 26,000 to OMR 3000, which means there will be a total saving of OMR 2.3 million for every 100 cases.

The MoH and ITA conducted a workshop on employing AI in the healthcare sector at COMEX 2019.

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