Published on August 08, 2022

Essentia Health first in the Northland to offer new polyp-detection system powered by artificial intelligence

Essentia Health is proud to announce it is now using the GI Genius, a first-of-its-kind, computer-aided polyp-detection system powered by artificial intelligence (AI). This new technology greatly enhances the ability to detect potentially cancerous colorectal polyps, or adenomas, through enhanced visualization during a colonoscopy.

The GI Genius uses AI to help detect precancerous lesions in real-time. It uses advanced algorithms that can identify and mark abnormalities consistent with polyps, including flat ones, that might otherwise go undetected by the human eye. Studies have shown every 1% increase in adenoma-detection rate reduces the risk of interval colorectal cancer by 3%.  GI Genius has been shown to increase adenoma-detection rate by over 14% compared to colonoscopy alone.

“This new technology helps to increase the quality of our colonoscopies, which in turn improves the diagnosis and outcomes for colon cancer patients,” said Dr. Erin Thackeray, a gastroenterologist at Essentia Health. “With this state-of-the-art AI, we can increase our polyp-detection rates and catch potential issues earlier to improve patient outcomes.”

The system is trained with a dataset of 13 million polyp images of various shapes and sizes. It is 82% faster than the average endoscopist at detecting polyps, with an overall sensitivity rate of 99.7%, meaning there is less than a half-percent chance for a false positive.

“Colonoscopy is the gold standard for colon cancer screening, and this tool helps make it even more effective,” said Dr. Thackeray. “The impact of missed polyps could ultimately be the difference between life and death – considering the survivability rate of colon cancer when caught early – and this technology will help us detect more polyps.”

This new tool is available at Essentia Health-St. Mary’s Medical Center in Duluth and Essentia Health St. Mary’s Hospital-Superior.

Colon cancer is the third most common cancer in the United States, with an estimated 150,000 adults diagnosed each year. Roughly one in 20 adults will be diagnosed with colon cancer in their lifetime, according to the Colorectal Cancer Alliance, but 90% of patients beat it when it is caught early.