Fujitsu, Tokyo Shinagawa Hospital eye AI for COVID-19 pneumonia diagnosis

Fujitsu and Tokyo Shinagawa Hospital have launched a joint R&D project for AI technology to support diagnostic imaging via chest CT (Computed Tomography), which represents a promising candidate for the effective diagnosis of COVID-19 pneumonia.

The newly-proposed technology supports doctors performing diagnostic imaging on patients suspected of having COVID-19 pneumonia, presenting the likelihood of infection through a numerical, three-dimensional visualisation of the spread of shadows in the lungs using chest CT imaging.

Applying AI to this analysis could significantly reduce the burden on doctors who diagnose COVID-19 pneumonia by automating a process that normally demands the visual confirmation of hundreds of chest CT images per patient. 

Fujitsu and Tokyo Shinagawa Hospital anticipate that the system will deliver early detection of cases of COVID-19 pneumonia based on chest CT image findings, even in cases in which the possibility of infection is determined to be low upon initial examination.

This joint research will enhance AI diagnostic support technology for novel coronavirus pneumonia, and Fujitsu ultimately aims to commercialise the technology as a healthcare solution for frontline medical professionals.

Past CT image data of COVID-19 pneumonia patients from Tokyo Shinagawa Hospital will aid in the development of AI technology that detects abnormal shadow patterns in the lungs. As the AI learns from this data about the possibility of COVID-19 pneumonia, Fujitsu and Tokyo Shinagawa Hospital will work together to evaluate the effectiveness of the technology. 

When diagnosing COVID-19 pneumonia, patterns of abnormal opacities in the lungs as well as the spread of shadows across the entire lung is important information. Patterns of abnormal shadows are detected using AI developed by Fujitsu Laboratories. 

While showing the possibility of COVID-19 infection with the AI technology, the aim is to shorten the amount of time doctors spend visually confirming the three-dimensional spread of the shadow from hundreds of chest CT images and to allow even non-specialists to efficiently diagnose COVID-19 pneumonia.