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AI in South Africa for community TB screening

MyPR – Andries Vorster

LTE Medical Solutions, South Africa’s leading healthcare solutions organisation, has partnered with prominent Artificial Intelligence (AI) solutions provider Qure.ai for the use of innovative technology to screen for Tuberculosis (TB) in high-risk communities to aid early diagnosis and contain the spread of the disease.

Working with the South African National Department of Health, the team is implementing the technology in 15 sites across South Africa, becoming a one-stop solution for the community screening of TB. LTE provides the portable medical clinic, hardware, equipment and the Healthcare Framework software (patient workflow management and EMR) while Qure handles the AI platform to manage patient X-ray interpretation, triaging and reporting to help clinical teams identify potential cases in under a minute.

The partnership between LTE Medical Solutions and Qure.ai aims to improve early-stage detection of TB in the African population to provide effective treatment at the earliest, hence reducing the mortality rate. By using deep learning technology to automate the Chest X-ray interpretation process, the collaboration between LTE and Qure resolves the need for trained physicians. Qure’s qXR is a CE- approved, AI-powered, Chest X-ray screening tool that detects signs of pulmonary, hilar and pleural tuberculosis and reports them automatically. Patients with a high TB score can then be directed to undergo confirmatory tests. Key populations such as those living with HIV, household contacts of TB patients, healthcare workers, pregnant women and children can be diagnosed early and qXR can aid in the initial screening process to determine if there is a need for further testing.

In South Africa, approximately 450,000 people develop TB every year, making the disease a serious public health issue. Those infected by HIV have a higher risk of contracting TB and dying from it, so HIV is an important factor in increasing the TB mortality rate. Highly specific and sensitive tests are expensive and also require trained professionals and adequate infrastructure to conduct tests and determine the results accurately. The Chest X-ray is a preliminary screening tool that is widely used due to its high sensitivity, low cost and ready availability in urban areas. However, one of its drawbacks is that trained physicians are required for the correct interpretation of Chest X-ray results.

LTE Medical Solutions, Dr Gerhard Ferreira CEO said “TB and HIV co-infection is a big problem in South Africa and is one of the major reasons for high mortality in TB patients. It is of utmost importance to diagnose high-risk individuals at an early stage and Qure.ai’s technology can streamline the screening process, thereby increasing the reach and accuracy of this initiative, ultimately delivering effective treatment to patients.”

Prashant Warrier, CEO and co-founder, Qure.ai said “This partnership with LTE Medical Solutions will play a crucial role in the early-stage detection of TB among the people of Africa. The software provided by Qure.ai can process chest X-rays and give the complete report of the abnormalities observed within a minute. This solution can aid physicians in their decision-making process, thereby making the screening process more effective and optimised.”

About LTE Medicals

LTE Medical Solutions is a professional service provider to the healthcare industry, positioned to serve both the public and private sector with the focus on mobile & alternative healthcare facilities, radiology solutions/services, medical equipment and healthcare software solutions.

LTE has over the years supplied turnkey mobile clinics, screening services, facilities and equipment across the African continent and understand the technical requirements and support required for specialized mobile healthcare facilities with strategic partnerships to provide integrated software solutions to the healthcare sector that include primary healthcare, services delivery and radiology solutions.

LTE, through our passion for providing the ultimate solutions, offers our clients and funders a complete solution related to healthcare screenings and statistical analysis. We offer a total solution, from hardware (mobile healthcare facilities), software and clinical resources to manage patient workflow, capturing of patient data and reporting back to our clients.

About Healthcare Framework (Pty) Ltd

Healthcare Framework offers cloud-based healthcare software applications which are used to manage patient workflow, electronic medical records (EMR), patient data management, consultations (in person or virtual) by healthcare service providers and comprehensive reporting providing the ultimate solution for prevalence studies, wellness and occupational health and screening for infectious diseases.

About Qure.ai

Qure.ai is a breakthrough Artificial Intelligence (AI) solution developer that is disrupting the radiology ‘status quo’ by enhancing imaging accuracy and improving health outcomes with the assistance of machine-supported tools. Qure.ai taps deep learning technology to provide automated interpretation of radiology exams like X-rays, CTs and MRI scans for time and resource-strapped medical imaging professionals—enabling faster diagnosis and speed to treatment. Qure.ai is helping make healthcare more accessible and affordable to patients worldwide.

For more information, please visit www.qure.ai.

PHOTO CREDIT/CAPTION:

3 Mobile X-Ray Clinics ready for deployment Photographer: Annica Potgieter

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