Blair Gastro now using Artificial Intelligence (AI) to improve colon cancer detection

Blair Gastroenterology Associates is the first private practice in Pennsylvania to use Artificial Intelligence (AI) through an FDA approved computer system to assist in the detection of colon cancer through screening colonoscopy. The AI technology is being used in Blair Gastro’s Colon Cancer Screening Center, Allegheny Regional Endoscopy, located in Altoona. Through deep learning algorithms, the system enhances the ability to find polyps and lesions in the colon.

The physicians of Blair Gastro already have one of the highest Adenoma Detection Rates (ADR) in the country. The ADR is a benchmark for how frequently precancerous polyps are detected by a physician during a colonoscopy. Using this new AI technology has been shown to increase the ADR by up to 14%. A 2014 study published in The New England Journal of Medicine found that a 1% increase in ADR decreases patient’s risk of colorectal cancer by 3%. Blair Gastro is evaluating the effectiveness of this breakthrough technology as part of a Blair Gastro Colon Cancer Screening Center continuous improvement plan.

Blair Gastro also offers genetic screening for intestinal disease. There are two certified genetics nurses working at Blair Gastro. They screen patients to determine if they have a hereditary syndrome that increases their risk of developing colon cancer. For example, Lynch Syndrome is the most common form of hereditary colon cancer occurring in 4% of all colon cancers. While Lynch Syndrome is associated with an increased risk of colon cancer, it is also associated with other cancers such as uterine (endometrial),
stomach, liver, kidney, brain, and certain types of skin cancers so comprehensive screening is needed.

Blair Gastro and Allegheny Regional Endoscopy are high performing health care organizations. Recently, it was announced that Blair Gastro and Allegheny Regional Endoscopy achieved the highest score possible, 100%, in the Medicare’s Merit-based Incentive Payment System (MIPS) for the year 2020. MIPS scores measure the quality, cost and innovation of healthcare organizations. Blair Gastro’s 100% score reflects the efficiency, high quality and leading-edge processes used during patient care. Evaluating the use of Artificial Intelligence in colon cancer screening is an example of the way Blair Gastro is one of the leading gastroenterology practices in the state.

Many options exist for screening, and now with the use of Artificial Intelligence, the gold standard for screening, the colonoscopy, is an even stronger option for early detection of colon cancer.

Media Contact: Kelly Carper, 814-946-5469 x126, or Steve Gildea, 814-946-5469