Novant Health to add AI tools to speed up diagnosis and treatment of lung disease

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CHARLOTTE, N.C. (QUEEN CITY NEWS) — Novant Health has announced it will add new robotic technology and artificial intelligence programs to help catch and treat lung cancer in patients far more quickly.   

Novant Health leaders announced Wednesday that patients and their doctors will have “access to state-of-the-art lung cancer biopsy … [and] an AI platform … will serve as a second set of eyes for radiologist, analyzing radiology reports in real time.” 

Novant Health did not specify the extent of this technology; however, AI used in deciphering patients’ radiology charts and data has seen an increase across the country. Officials say the treatment process would speed up by several days to weeks’ time. 

Dr. Nathan Cross with the University of Washington School of Medicine explained how the technology has streamlined diagnosis and treatment for patients. (

It is, “delivering care more timely, with greater depth of information,” Cross said. 

The AI programs used in parts of the country rely on algorithms to study a patient’s X-ray in real time, pixel by pixel. It can then alert radiologists of any cancerous findings before they’ve had a chance to look. 

“Train AI to look at large numbers of x-rays and identify problems areas,” Cross explained. “This could elevate a patient to the top of the list and say, ‘hey there is something here that needs your urgent attention.’” 

It’s a crucial step forward in technology, especially in rural American hospital systems, which make up 70 percent of the shortages in hospital workers nationwide. 

“If a radiologist is busy, this will help notify them and maybe a cancer specialist team of this patient’s medical history, and what they may have.” 

The tech, however, is not without faults. 

There have been racial biases found in the ability for data to be pulled. 

For example, radiology charts used in AI programs in urban areas will have a different make-up when compared to rural America. 

It could also be left up to the hospital system of how sensitive they’d want the AI system to be. 

Cross explained the systems can be set up to be highly sensitive. This could produce several false-positives, or the opposite, and miss some potential early cases. 

Novant Health does not have a set date for when the robotics or the AI programs will begin. 

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