With support from Amazon Web Services’ (AWS) Health Equity Initiative, Medtronic and ASGE are expanding the Medtronic Health Equity Assistance Program for colon cancer screening in medically underserved communities across the U.S., increasing GI Genius units (provided as part of the program) from 50 to 133 systems placed at 62 facilities.
The program launched in February 2022, according to a news release, with Grady Memorial Hospital in Atlanta the first to receive its donated GI Genius units last month. Gastroenterologists at Grady Memorial Hospital perform more than 7,000 colon cancer screening procedures each year among a predominantly Black community, Medtronic said, as Black adults are disproportionately burdened by colon cancer, at greater risk of diagnosis, worse outcome and death.
“We are excited to provide this novel technology to our patients. By utilizing GI Genius, we have the potential to increase our adenoma detection rate and reduce the incidence of colorectal cancer in a high-risk and vulnerable population,” Dr. Benjamin D. Renelus, a gastroenterologist at Grady Memorial Hospital, said in the release. “The hospital’s hope is that the thousands of patients receiving colonoscopy cancer screenings each year at our facility will benefit from Medtronic’s GI Genius intelligent endoscopy module with the potential for earlier detection and better patient outcomes.”
Medtronic received FDA authorization for the GI Genius intelligent endoscopy module last year. The system represents the first-to-market computer-aided polyp detection system powered by artificial intelligence to detect colorectal polyps of varying shapes and sizes automatically in real-time which helps diagnose and prevent colorectal cancer.
“Equity in healthcare begins with ensuring access for all to life-transforming therapies,” said Geoff Martha, Medtronic chairman and chief executive officer. “It’s exciting to see how our new collaboration with AWS can help clinicians detect colon cancer early among some of the highest risk individuals in our country.”
A study published earlier this year found that the use of GI Genius in conjunction with colonoscopy significantly decreases the miss rate (2x) of colorectal polyps and adenomas compared to standard colonoscopy.
“This initiative is so important because we know that almost half of all cases of post-colonoscopy colon cancer may be attributed to not catching polyps during the index colonoscopy,” Dr. Austin Chiang, CMO of the gastrointestinal business at Medtronic, said. “We have seen the impact that AI-assisted colonoscopies can have, and this study unequivocally demonstrates that this technology helps physicians better detect polyps during colonoscopies. The impact of missed polyps could ultimately be the difference between life and death when we consider that 90% of patients with colon cancer can beat it when it’s caught early.”