Image Diversity in Medicine

Pattern Recognition for the Visual Mind

By Dr. Nick van Terheyden aka Dr. Nick
Twitter: @drnic1
Host of Dr. Nick: The Incrementalist#TheIncrementalist

On this episode I met with Art Papier, MD, a dermatologist and CEO and co-founder of VisualDx, a company offering a diagnostic clinical decision support system designed to enhance diagnostic accuracy, aid therapeutic decisions, and improve patient safety and recently featured in the NY Times for their 20-year journey an commitment to diversity in medicine.

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I was excited to discover Art’s connection with one of the leading names and innovators in medicine and medical informatics, Dr. Larry Weed, thanks to meeting him early in his career that provided some of the inspiration for VisualDx alongside the adjacent experience to Kodak that had recently launched the digital photography era in their home town of Rochester, NY.

Their focus has been on the visualization of ideas and resolving the uncertainty in clinical judgment that struggles with a knowledge gap. They realized early on those patients seeking care presenting with dermatological symptoms are seen more often by non-dermatological specialists (65% in the US to as high as 95% in the UK) who struggle with the uncommon presentation of the disease.

The progress has been incremental developing tools that augment clinicians who are challenged like everyone else with the conflict between our pattern recognition and analytical minds and training (you can read more about that in Thinking, Fast and Slow by Daniel Kahneman). Along the way we discover we are awash with bias of all forms that starts in the materials we learn from and continues throughout our education and practice.

They realized along the way that the visual input is important but without the context of history and other clinical data is far less useful and capturing and including all the data is the key to delivering augmented insights to clinicians on the front line.

Listen in to hear how VisualDx long-standing commitment to diversity found renewed importance with the COVID19 pandemic as we started seeing dermatological signs but were being missed as doctors struggled to recognize dermatological conditions on non-white skin, a big blind spot on disproportionally affected communities, and a small incremental change to their application is already helping address.

About the Show
For years Dr. Nick van Terheyden aka Dr. Nick, has served as a voice on the impact of new technologies on healthcare, earning a reputation as a leading authority on where the future of medicine is going. Combining powers of observation and real world experience, Dr. Nick has seen many predictions come true and makes the case that innovations in healthcare can be accomplished incrementally, not just by moonshot events. Tune in to hear Dr. Nick: The Incrementalist and his guests discuss what the future of healthcare looks like, how we will get there, and what it will take to improve healthcare for all.

This article was originally published on the Dr. Nick – The Incrementalist blog and is republished here with permission.