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Dutch Tech Heroes Fighting COVID-19 is a new Techleap.nl initiative to showcase the startups which contribute to the fight against the corona virus through their services and products. By answering three simple questions, they provide insight in how they help us survive and fight the COVID-19 pandemic. This time: Mark-Jan Harte, CEO Aidence.
👨 Who are you?
“We are Aidence. We were founded in Amsterdam in 2015 by me, Jeroen van Duffelen and Tim Salimans. Our team of data scientists, software engineers, medical and regulatory professionals cut through the hype around AI to deliver practical solutions for medical imaging. We built AI applications that seamlessly integrate into the clinical workflow, ensuring speed and ease of use without compromising on the quality of care.
Lung cancer is one of the most common cancers worldwide and early detection is essential for survival. Our AI-enabled pulmonary nodule management assistant, Veye Chest, enables radiologists to better spot and track changes in pulmonary nodules. Veye Chest holds the CE marking for medical devices and is already installed in 10s of hospitals across Europe, processing thousands of CTs per week. In the UK, we have been selected as preferred partner for the NHS Targeted Lung Health Check programs (aka lung screening programs).”
🥊 How do you help fight COVID-19?
“We are developing an AI-powered solution to help medical professionals assess the severity of COVID-19 in clinical practice. In the current corona crisis, chest CT is a valuable method to quantify lung damage, and subsequently triage and prioritize COVID-19 patients. Mid-March, we, together with Nico.lab, founded an International Consortium (icovai.org) to develop and deploy a not-for-profit, cloud-based AI solution that will increase the speed and accuracy of CT reporting for COVID-19 triaging and risk stratification.
This consortium, ICOVAI, is leveraging the knowledge and experience of member organisations like (university-) hospitals, AI companies, medical technology- and distribution companies to bring the full potential of AI to the healthcare practitioners fighting COVID-19. Beyond development, we are well-equipped to validate and truly deploy a practical AI solution at scale across hospitals in Europe, aiming to relieve some of the pressure on the medical staff.”
🔍 What do you need to increase your impact on this crisis?
“To develop the AI solution for COVID-19 on chest CT, the consortium's most pressing need is data. We are collecting relevant datasets containing COVID-19 positive, negative and control scans. The more scans, the better, as they will allow us to train a highly accurate AI model. The consortium offers multiple ways of easy, secured, and compliant data sharing.
Health authorities and medical societies are instrumental in creating policies that enable data-sharing. Sharing anonymised medical data is fully in line and compliant with GDPR, however, it is not treated in a consistent way across hospitals in each country. Creating open, anonymised data-pools and a national policy which makes ‘opt-out consent’ the default setting for (anonymised) patient data would help to accelerate innovation in AI for medical imaging; it would be the base for the exponential growth of AI innovation. We are ready for it.”