Video analysis software to improve colon exams
1 December 2006
Ames, Iowa, USA. Software that captures videos of colon
exams and analyses the quality of the exams has been developed by a team of
researchers from Iowa State University. It should help doctors improve the
colonoscopy procedure they use to look for cancer.
software and related hardware, for example, could analyze videos of
colonoscopy procedures — a tiny video camera at the tip of a flexible
endoscope allows doctors to see inside the colon — to determine how much
time a doctor spent actually examining a patient's colon. The software could
also determine how often the exam images were blurry and therefore useless
to the doctor.
The technology will be a good way to assess the quality of
colonoscopy procedures, said Johnny Wong, an Iowa State professor of
computer science, and Wallapak Tavanapong, an Iowa State associate professor
of computer science. "Our number one goal is to see how we can use computer
technology to assist physicians in providing better health care," said Wong.
The Iowa State researchers are developing the technology with Piet C. de
Groen, a professor of medicine at the Mayo Clinic College of Medicine in
Rochester, Minn., and JungHwan Oh, an assistant professor of computer
science and engineering at the University of North Texas.
have incorporated a startup company, EndoMetric LLC, that will be located at
the Iowa State University Research Park next spring. The company plans to
market two products: EndoPACS, a software system to capture videos during
colonoscopy and upload the videos to a central server for further analysis;
and EndoMetric, a suite of software tools that automatically analyses the
quality of colonoscopy exams and provides easy viewing of the quality
measurements. A patent on the technology is pending.
The American College
of Gastroenterology has awarded the research project its 2006 Governors
Award for Excellence in Clinical Research.
The research project has been
supported by a National Science Foundation grant of $578,850 over three
years. The project has also been supported by a grant of $75,405 from the
Grow Iowa Values Fund, a state economic development program. The Iowa State
University Research Foundation and the Mayo Clinic have also contributed
$25,000 each to the project.
The researchers say the colonoscopy
technology has the potential to be adapted to other medical procedures that
use endoscope technology, including examinations of bladders, lungs,
stomachs and joints.
The researchers say their computer technology isn't
designed to catch doctors making mistakes when they do those examinations.
The technology is designed to improve the procedures by aiding training and
helping hospitals track how their doctors perform them. The goal, according
to one of the researchers' grant proposals, is to "enable large-scale,
objective quality control."
"We want to improve the effects of these
exams," said Tavanapong, "so the patients see the most benefit."