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Docbot Rolls Out Integrated AI Tool for Colonoscopy Assistance, Documentation


The company plans to have a fully functional version commercialized in just a few months.

Image courtesy Docbot press release. Image has been cropped for size.

Docbot doesn’t exactly make the sci-fi physician-replacement robots that its name may imply, but it is making strides towards building more advanced artificial intelligence (AI) tools for the clinical setting. The California startup today unveiled an AI workflow suite for colonoscopies—and it believes it can develop a validated, commercially available version in the next few months.

Put simply, Qualoscopy—as the system is called—is part diagnostic support tool, part automated scribe. It applies AI to polyp detection but also integrates in electronic health records (EHR) systems to auto-document procedures and associated quality measures. In combining these functions, the hope is to make colorectal cancer more preventable by speeding up time from a colonoscopy to analysis and getting that information from the specialists conducting an exam to a patient’s primary care physician quickly and seamlessly.

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“There’s nothing a good physician wants more than to provide the highest level of care for their patients and to avoid redundant paperwork,” William Karnes, MD, said. Karnes is a co-founder of Docbot and director of colonoscopy quality at University of California Irvine, where the system has undergone months of testing and refinements. He called Qualoscopy “a game changer.”

Docbot co-founder and CEO Andrew Ninh thinks the polyp-detecting algorithms—built off data from UC Irvine’s “massive” colonoscopy database—are ready to undergo clinical testing. Currently, the company says it is conducting a public beta run with physicians at different medical centers.

"Our first priority is to conduct multicenter studies to demonstrate that Qualoscopy improves polyp detection and accurately predicts polyp pathology independent of clinical setting, scope manufacturer, light source or patient population,” Ninh said.

The company was founded in 2014 and is also currently working to create tools for allergy specialists. Its solutions integrate with Epic and Cerner EHRs and are designed to work as standalone programs.

According to a statement, the company is aiming to commercialize a fully functional system by September, 2018.

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