Home » News

AI holds great promise for visual fields like dermatology, but faces many challenges

See How Aysa Works

by Jonah Comstock (NOVEMBER 14, 2018)

Computer vision has great promise for helping to democratize fields like wound care, dermatology and more. However, as companies explore this potential, they’re also discovering a number of challenges to overcome.

Companies like VisualDx, which have a robust dataset from years in the CDS space, have to balance patient privacy consideration. “In our professional tool, when a doctor takes a pictures of a patient the image is analyzed on the phone and the image is dumped,” CEO Art Papier told MobiHealthNews. “So we never see the image because of confidentiality. So I think on the consumer side there’s an opt-in where the user can click a box where they say they’re willing to train data and can create a feedback loop and start training the system. We’ll be getting going with that this year.”

Learn more about the challenges AI face in the healthcare space by reading the full MobiHealthNews article.

MobiHealthNews: VisualDx launches Aysa, a consumer-facing dermatology app

Clinical decision support tool maker VisualDx officially launched Aysa, its first consumer-facing app, last month at Health 2.0 in San Francisco. The app allows users to upload pictures of skin lesions or rashes, enter some additional information about themselves and receive suggestions of what condition they might have and what actions to take next.

“We argue we’ve developed the world’s best professional medical image collection of skin, and that know-how that we used to develop VisualDx is now leverage for a consumer-facing tool,” CEO Dr. Art Papier told MobiHealthNews at the show last month. “It’s all based on the same data. So the new product, called Aysa, was just launched in the app store in conjunction with this meeting. It’s basically your copilot as a person when you have a skin problem. Eventually it’s going to grow into other areas, as VisualDx grew into other areas.”

The app will be free for an introductory period, and then sold for $1.99. The app is not intended to be a diagnostic tool, but it does give users options after giving them information about their probably condition. Currently, users can select “Prevention and Self-Care” for links to buy over-the-counter-remedies from Walmart. But VisualDx intends to add other stores, as well as links to initiate a telemedicine visit or find an in-person clinic.

What’s the impact

A lot of startups are starting to offer mobile tools like this to serve as “first lines of defense” for concerned consumers. Dermatology is a particularly attractive area for this because of a national shortage of dermatologists. VisualDx stands out as a company that’s moving from provider-focused clinical decision support into the consumer world, which should lend it more credibility to its platform.

Papier argues that services like this are crucial, even acknowledging their limitations, because people are already looking online for medical answers, so they might as well have the best ones possible.

“We know that everybody searches Google with their symptoms or they go to WebMD and use a symptom checker,” he said. “So the real question is how do you develop something that’s an educational symptom checker that’s safe? The art of this is to do a better job of educating so people know on a weekend, do I need to run to urgent care on a weekend, or can I get some better information that will help me make some decisions and then I’ll see the doctor later if necessary.”

Aysa also makes use of CoreML, a relatively new Apple feature that allows companies to run machine learning algorithms directly on the phone rather than in the cloud. VisualDx was even name-dropped by Tim Cook on a recent investor call as an example of the feature’s potential impact in healthcare.

Finally, VisualDx’s extensive database allows it to address the problem of racial disparities in digital dermatology access.

“One of the things we’re really proud of at VisualDx is for the last 18 years we’ve been cataloguing the spectrum of disease in people of all colors,” Papier said. So the goal of Aysa is to give a really unique experience to someone, if they have light skin or dark skin. We give them a very custom experience.”

What is the trend

Partly because of machine learning, dermatology apps, popular in the first wave of mobile health apps, are making a comeback. MobiHealthNews catalogued this trend, and gave some examples of companies in the space, in an In-Depth back in July.

MedCity News: VisualDx’s new app lets users check skin conditions using AI

by Erin Dietsche, MedCity News (SEPTEMBER 20, 2018)

VisualDx, a Rochester, New York-based company that designed a clinical decision support tool for doctors, has expanded its innovative thinking to the world of consumers.

At the Health 2.0 conference earlier this week, it launched its first app geared aimed at consumers: Aysa, an artificial intelligence-powered tool that lets people learn about their skin conditions.

The app is trained via VisualDx’s platform, which brings together medical expertise and a database of over 120,000.

In a recent phone interview, Rory Burrill, VisualDx’s vice president of business development and general manager of consumer health strategy said his company saw its platform and know-how as a valuable resource that could assist others.

Read the full article here.

VisualDx Launches Aysa for Consumers to Check Skin Conditions Using AI

Aysa brings peace of mind in 4 easy steps.

SANTA CLARA, Calif., Sept 17, 2010/PRNewswire/ — Today, VisualDx, the leading diagnostic clinical decision support tool for physicians, unveiled its first app geared at consumers, Aysa, at the Health 2.0 Conference in Santa Clara. Aysa, an AI-driven smart symptom checker app, allows consumers to become more educated and make more informed decisions about their personal skin conditions. Aysa is trained through the VisualDx platform which combines clinical search and medical knowledge from experts with a database of more than 120,000 of the best medical images in the world.

In 2017, the average wait time in metro areas to see a dermatologist for a routine skin exam was 32 days. Using machine learning, Aysa is able to provide real-time results for skin photos taken in the privacy of a consumer’s home.

Skin rashes, which can range from annoying but benign to a sign of a serious condition, can look different on different skin types, even if they are the same condition. From psoriasis to eczema to herpes, skin conditions come in different shapes, sizes and severity. By simply taking a photo of one’s skin condition and answering a few questions, Aysa is able to generate a few possible answers in addition to next steps whether for self-care measures or for a visit with a health care provider.

“Aysa is a terrific tool to help narrow down a list of potential skin diagnoses. I recently had a large red spot on the area around my thumb and was concerned since I didn’t know what it could be,” said Jennifer, an early beta tester of the app, who lives in Boston. “With the help of Aysa, I was able to take a picture of the spot, answer a few questions and review some of the possibilities. Turns out the spot was something called a lime rash that I had gotten from squeezing limes a few days prior. Aysa correctly identified the rash on my hand and put my mind at ease before visiting a dermatologist. It was intuitive, easy to follow and a lot faster than what I normally do by searching the internet.”

VisualDx, the developer of Aysa, is a physician-led company with a deep knowledge base and understanding of dermatology making it uniquely qualified to bring this app to market. The company is introducing Aysa as a way to augment health research, but not replace the role of a clinician. In doing so, Aysa does not diagnose yet it is able to generate potential diseases and next steps for individuals with common skin conditions, thanks to the power of its world-class medical image library and the use of Apple’s CoreML, a framework designed to speed up machine learning tasks on the iOS operating system.

Because it is developed for iOS-based devices, Aysa can adjust its results based on a user’s medical history, thereby truly customizing the experience further for users. Because Apple enables users to aggregate existing health records from participating providers in the Apple Health app on iPhones, apps like Aysa and others, can interact with existing data with a user’s permission.

“Industry data suggests that nearly 80 percent of internet users haves searched for a health-related topic online, however 50 percent of the time these searches produce inaccurate information,” said Dr. Art Papier, CEO of VisualDx. “Consumers in the U.S. deserve better and Aysa can provide peace of mind by serving as the foundation for a productive visit to the doctor’s office. We want people to use their smartphones to get the right answers when they need it most, and for the answers to be drawn from the professional knowledge of physicians.”

Aysa, which will cost $9.99 for a one-year subscription, can be downloaded in the Apple App Store. For a limited time, new users can download Aysa free of charge. An Android version of Aysa is currently under development. For more information, visit www.askaysa.com.

VisualDx is an award-winning diagnostic clinical decision support system and a standard electronic resource at medical schools and in hospital and clinic settings. VisualDx combines clinical search with a database of more than 120,000 of the best medical images in the world, plus medical knowledge from experts to help with diagnosis, treatment, self-education, and patient communication. Expanding to provide diagnostic decision support across general medicine, VisualDx brings increased speed and accuracy to the art of diagnosis. Learn more at www.visualdx.com.

VisualDx to Launch AI-Enabled Smart Symptom Checker

Beta testing of Aysa, an AI-driven app, begins and revolutionizes the public’s understanding of skin conditions

VisualDx, the leading diagnostic clinical decision support tool for physicians, has announced the beginning of a beta test for its new artificial intelligence-driven symptom checker app, Aysa. The new app will allow patients to become more educated and make more informed decisions about their personal skin problems. Aysa is trained through the VisualDx platform which combines clinical search and medical knowledge from experts with a database of more than 120,000 of the best medical images in the world. Using machine learning, Aysa can provide real-time results for skin photos taken in the privacy of a patient’s home.

Skin rashes, which can range from annoying but benign to a sign of a serious condition, can look different on different skin types, even if they are the same condition. From psoriasis and eczema to herpes, skin conditions come in different shapes, sizes and severity. By simply taking a photo of one’s skin condition and answering a few questions, Aysa will generate a few possible answers in addition to next steps for the iPhone user by suggesting self-care measures or advising a visit with a health care provider. Aysa arms consumers with information and images to better understand skin conditions.

VisualDx is uniquely qualified to bring this app to market. As a physician-led company with a deep knowledge base and understanding of dermatology, VisualDx introduces Aysa as a way to augment health research, but not replace the role of a clinician. In doing so, Aysa does not diagnose. It is able to generate potential diseases and next steps for individuals with common skin conditions, thanks to the power of its world-class medical image library and the use of Apple’s CoreML.

“As a dermatologist, I know my patients are going to Google before coming to see me. But, too often, what they find is not only inaccurate, but dangerous,” said Dr. Art Papier, CEO of VisualDx. “Our patients deserve better and Aysa can provide peace of mind to a worried parent and serve as the foundation for a productive visit to the doctor’s office. We want people to use their smartphones to get the right answers when they need it most, and for the answers to be drawn from the professional knowledge of physicians.”

Beta testing for the Aysa iOS app is now open to select medical professionals and consumers and will be available to the public in early September. For more information, visit www.askaysa.com.

VisualDx is an award-winning diagnostic clinical decision support system and a standard electronic resource at medical schools and in hospital and clinic settings. VisualDx combines clinical search with a database of more than 120,000 of the best medical images in the world, plus medical knowledge from experts to help with diagnosis, treatment, self-education, and patient communication. Expanding to provide diagnostic decision support across general medicine, VisualDx brings increased speed and accuracy to the art of diagnosis. Learn more at www.visualdx.com.

Science 37 and VisualDx collaboration aims to spur participation in clinical dermatology research

VisualDx, a health technology company that developed a mobile-based skin cancer assessment tool for clinical decision support and a patient facing website, has teamed up with Science 37 to provide timely information to patients and physicians on clinical trials. The goal is to increase patient and physician awareness of clinical trials, provide an avenue to engage patients about them and make the often time-consuming process of clinical trial recruitment easier.

Read the Full Article on MedCityNews: https://medcitynews.com/2018/04/science-37-and-visualdx-collaboration/

Apple CEO Tim Cook gave a shout-out to a $100-per-year app for doctors — here’s what it does

Apple CEO Tim Cook isn’t a doctor, but he talked about a piece of medical software, VisualDx, during Apple’s most recent earnings call.

It was an interesting choice of an app to highlight. Apple has deep ambition to break into the health and medical worlds, but although VisualDx is available to consumers through the Apple App Store, it’s not really an app for the public. It’s targeted at trained and credentialed doctors who can use it to help diagnose skin conditions and disorders.

Read the full article at Business Insider: https://www.businessinsider.com/visualdx-machine-learning-app-for-skin-diagnosis-ceo-interview-2017-11

VisualDx app to debut with Apple iOS 11, helping non-dermatologist doctors diagnose skin conditions

With the upcoming iOS 11 launch, a new VisualDx app, enabled with Apple Core ML, will help doctors provide quick and accurate diagnoses of lesions, rashes, and other skin conditions.

Billed as a clinical decision support system for physicians and frontline healthcare professionals, Rochester, New York-based VisualDx developed the technology to help non-dermatology health practitioners identify and treat a wide range of skin conditions, many of which were previously difficult to diagnose without referral to a specialist.

Read the full article on MobiHealthNews: https://www.mobihealthnews.com/content/visualdx-app-debut-apple-ios-11-helping-non-dermatologist-doctors-diagnose-skin-conditions

Coming Soon: Aysa

Aysa, an AI-driven skin app, uses deep learning to harness the power of the leading diagnostic clinical decision support tool.

ROCHESTER, NY [July 10, 2017] – From the team behind the leading diagnostic clinical decision support tool for physicians and an award-winning skin health website visited by hundreds of thousands of consumers each month comes the app that will help patients make better decisions about skin problems. Meet Aysa, the image recognition app trained using deep learning to give real-time results for skin photos taken in the privacy of one’s home.

Gertrude Stein famously wrote, “Rose is a rose is a rose is a rose.” Not true for skin rashes, which can range from annoying but benign to a sign of a serious condition. Even the same condition can look different on different skin. From psoriasis to eczema to herpes, skin conditions come in different shapes, sizes, and severity. And the next question is, “What should I do?”

With Aysa, get directions on the next steps for skin conditions. Take a picture of the affected area. Aysa will ask you a few questions to understand the condition. Then you’ll be given a few possible answers as well as next steps, including self-care measures or whether to schedule an appointment with a physician or go to urgent care or the emergency room.

How is this possible? Aysa uses the power of VisualDx’s world-class medical image library and the deep-learning technique of artificial intelligence. Developed using the embedded knowledge of tens of thousands of clinicians, Aysa can direct people in their homes to better choices.

“As a dermatologist, I know my patients are going to Google before coming to see me. But, too often, what they find is not only inaccurate, it’s dangerous. Our patients deserve better. Aysa can provide peace of mind to a worried parent and serve as the foundation for a productive visit to the doctor’s office. We want people to use their smartphones to get the right answers when they need it most, and for the answers to be drawn from the professional knowledge of physicians.”—Art Papier, CEO, VisualDx.

Aysa is currently under development and will be available as an iOS app.