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Verily’s India project reveals the work of applying AI to real-world clinical care

March 13, 2019 / Heather Landi

A new machine learning eye disease screening tool wasn't conceived by an eye doctor, or any physician for that matter, but by a research scientist at Google with an interest in artificial intelligence. That scientist, Varun Gulshan, was looking for a medical or science project that might ideally help people in his home country of India. But since no one on the Google team had any experience creating medical devices, turning the AI model into an actual medical device required turning the project over to Verily, Alphabet's healthcare and life sciences research arm. Three years later, eye doctors at Aravind Eye Hospital in Madurai, India, are using that machine learning algorithm to screen patients for diabetic retinopathy, with the aim of using technology to fill gaps in patient access to eye doctors. By integrating the machine learning algorithm into their screening process, hospital physicians have more time to work closely with patients on treatment while increasing the number...