Image of a GI Genius unit. On Wednesday, Intermountain Healthcare announced the placement of these artificial intelligence devices in four of its rural Utah hospitals to help doctors identify colon cancer earlier. (Intermountain Healthcare)
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CEDAR CITY — Intermountain Healthcare will soon use artificial intelligence tools to improve colonoscopies and better colon cancer prevention at four rural Utah hospitals.
This cutting-edge technology, aptly named GI Genius, will help doctors improve colon polyp detection and more quickly remove precancerous colon polyps. Hospitals that will have the new technology include Intermountain Cedar City Hospital, Intermountain Fillmore Hospital, Intermountain Delta Community Hospital and Intermountain Heber Valley Hospital.
“We are extremely pleased to be among the first hospitals in Utah to have this advanced screening capability,” said Eric Packer, administrator at Intermountain’s Cedar City Hospital. “The best part is knowing that our patients will now benefit from this important advance in cancer screening. This is another example of how we strive to serve our community with the latest technology in healthcare.”
A ribbon cutting for the new unit was held at Cedar City Hospital on Wednesday and will take place at the other hospitals over the next few weeks as doctors train to use the device.
Medtronic, which distributes GI Genius, the American Society for Gastrointestinal Endoscopy and Amazon Web Services are responsible for bringing this technology to rural Utah through Medtronic’s Health Equity Assistance Program. In the United States, this program provides 133 GI Genius units at 62 different medical facilities.
The use of artificial intelligence technology will not add additional costs to patients.
The artificial intelligence of the GI Genius module is trained on over 13 million images of polyps. Using the tool in trials, doctors were able to increase the detection of lesions by up to 46%, according to Medtronic.
Giovanni Di Napoli, president of the gastrointestinal business at Medtronic, said he is excited to see how the technology combined with Intermountain Healthcare can improve polyp detection in the four rural Utah communities.
“We are committed to helping reduce inequalities and provide access to life-transforming therapies with the use of AI technology,” Napoli said.
Dr. Nathan A. Merriman, medical director of gastroenterology and digestive health at Intermountain Healthcare, said he sees artificial intelligence as a potential aid to all Intermountain doctors performing colonoscopies.
“By bringing this cutting-edge, high-definition technology to our rural Utah communities, we have the potential to detect more colorectal polyps and potentially prevent cancer,” Merriman said.
It is recommended that people start screening for colon cancer at age 45. Intermountain said colorectal cancer is the second deadliest cancer in both men and women, causing about 50,000 deaths in the United States each year.
“We know that missing colorectal polyps could potentially increase the risk of interval colon cancers that appear before the next routine exam… By improving our ability to see and remove more of these polyps, we create more positive impact with greater colon cancer prevention for patients and their families,” Merriman said.