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UK’s Barts Health to use Israeli tech to flag patients at risk for colon cancer

One of the largest National Health Service providers in Britain turns to Medial EarlySign software studies routine clinical data to predict and prioritize individuals at high risk

Shoshanna Solomon is The Times of Israel's Startups and Business reporter

Illustrative. Surgeons operating. (Ridofranz, iStock by Getty Images)
Illustrative. Surgeons operating. (Ridofranz, iStock by Getty Images)

Medial EarlySign, a maker of AI-based software that can flag high-risk patients for a number of conditions, said that Barts Health, one of the largest healthcare National Health Service providers in Britain, will use the software to identify members at high risk for developing colon cancer.

EarlySign’s machine learning model called ColonFlag, does not directly diagnose colon cancer, but analyzes existing routine clinical data to predict and prioritize individuals at high risk of developing colon cancer, to help physicians deliver targeted and proactive interventions for optimal care. The firm’s software is currently being used by doctors at Israel’s healthcare provider Maccabi, and is also used by US healthcare providers, such as Geisinger and Kaiser Permanente Northwest.

The “ColonFlag” product is the first EarlySign solution to be used by Barts Health, and the plan is to expand the use of EarlySign solutions with other diseases in the near future, the Israeli company said in a statement.

“The COVID-19 pandemic has created a challenging situation in which many patients are still awaiting routine treatments and screenings, including for colon cancer, which is the fourth most common cancer in the UK,” said Professor Finbarr Cotter, Lead for Molecular Pathology and Consultant Haemato-Oncologist at Barts Health in the statement. “Integrating EarlySign’s platform into our workstream has helped us to successfully identify patients who would most benefit from screening and intervention, supporting our goal of delivering timely and personalized care to our patients. We are now exploring opportunities to extend our use of EarlySign’s technology to other health areas.”

The Barts Health group operates five hospitals in East London serving a population of 2.5 million people. Its cancer center, at St. Bartholomew’s Hospital, is the second largest in London and provides specialist services across the capital and South East England.

EarlySign in June set up an initiative called Back2Care that aims to help healthcare providers identify individuals who would benefit most from closer care, aiming to get those who may have been sidelined by the dealing with the virus back into the care workflow.

As part of the initiative, EarlySign has created a number of “bundles” it offers healthcare providers to help them prioritize which patients need to be monitored more closely: an infectious disease bundle that can pinpoint those most at risk for COVID-19 or flu complications; the admissions bundle, to help understand which patients are at greatest risk for hospital readmissions; an early detection bundle – that prioritizes patients at high risk of diseases like colorectal cancer, lung cancer, abdominal aortic aneurysm and diabetes; and a “diabetes and complications bundle” – that helps flag and engage with patients at high risk of diabetes and its progression.

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