Iowa State researchers developing software to improve colon exams

November 30, 2006

AMES, Iowa - Computer technology developed with the help of Iowa State University researchers will analyze videos of colon exams and should help doctors improve the colonoscopy procedure they use to look for cancer.

The researchers' software and related hardware, for example, could analyze videos of colonoscopy procedures - a tiny video camera at the tip of a flexible endoscope allows doctors to see inside the colon - to determine how much time a doctor spent actually examining a patient's colon. The software could also determine how often the exam images were blurry and therefore useless to the doctor.

The technology, in other words, will be a good way to assess the quality of colonoscopy procedures, said Johnny Wong, an Iowa State professor of computer science, and Wallapak Tavanapong, an Iowa State associate professor of computer science.

"Our number one goal is to see how we can use computer technology to assist physicians in providing better health care," said Wong.

The Iowa State researchers are developing the technology with Piet C. de Groen, a professor of medicine at the Mayo Clinic College of Medicine in Rochester, Minn., and JungHwan Oh, an assistant professor of computer science and engineering at the University of North Texas.

The researchers have incorporated a startup company, EndoMetric LLC, that will be located at the Iowa State University Research Park next spring. The company plans to market two products: EndoPACS, a software system to capture videos during colonoscopy and upload the videos to a central server for further analysis; and EndoMetric, a suite of software tools that automatically analyses the quality of colonoscopy exams and provides easy viewing of the quality measurements. A patent on the technology is pending.

The American College of Gastroenterology has awarded the research project its 2006 Governors Award for Excellence in Clinical Research.

The research project has been supported by a National Science Foundation grant of $578,850 over three years. The project has also been supported by a grant of $75,405 from the Grow Iowa Values Fund, a state economic development program. The Iowa State University Research Foundation and the Mayo Clinic have also contributed $25,000 each to the project.

Tavanapong said the project started about four years ago at a computer science conference. She and Oh started talking about how their computerized video analysis could make a difference in people's lives.

That led to talk of analyzing medical procedures. That led to a proposal to study colonoscopy, a procedure that's expected to cost Americans up to $7.4 billion annually. And that led the researchers to work with the Mayo Clinic's de Groen, who had worked with Wong on several smaller projects involving electronic medical records.

The researchers say the colonoscopy technology has the potential to be adapted to other medical procedures that use endoscope technology, including examinations of bladders, lungs, stomachs and joints.

The researchers say their computer technology isn't designed to catch doctors making mistakes when they do those examinations. The technology is designed to improve the procedures by aiding training and helping hospitals track how their doctors perform them. The goal, according to one of the researchers' grant proposals, is to "enable large-scale, objective quality control."

"We want to improve the effects of these exams," said Tavanapong, "so the patients see the most benefit."
-end-


Iowa State University

Related Colonoscopy Articles from Brightsurf:

Using robotic assistance to make colonoscopy kinder and easier
Scientists have made a breakthrough in their work to develop semi-autonomous colonoscopy, using a robot to guide a medical device into the body.

Nearly 1 in 8 patients receive unexpected out-of-network bills after colonoscopy
Nearly 1 in 8 commercially insured patients nationwide who underwent an elective colonoscopy between 2012 and 2017 performed by an in-network provider received potential 'surprise' bills for out-of-network expenses, often totaling hundreds of dollars or more.

Swallowing this colonoscopy-like bacteria grabber could reveal secrets about your health
Your gut bacteria could say a lot about you, such as why you're diabetic or how you respond to certain drugs.

Examining association between older age, risk of complications after colonoscopy
This observational study looked at the risk of complications after an outpatient colonoscopy among patients age 75 and older compared to younger patients.

Bowel cancer rates after colonoscopy vary by provider
A colonoscopy is the main test used to detect bowel cancer, but like most tests, it is not always 100% accurate and cancers can be missed.

Will disposable colonoscopy devices replace reusables?
As a disposable version of the instrument used in one of the most common medical procedures in the United States inches closer to widespread availability, a team of Johns Hopkins data researchers is studying the economic and safety implications associated with the devices used to perform colonoscopies.

Sedation method does not affect colonoscopy detection rate
Colon cancer is the second leading cause of cancer death in the United States and colonoscopy is the most-used screening tool to detect it.

Blue dye tablet helps identify polyps during colonoscopy
Ingestion of a blue dye tablet during bowel prep for colonoscopy could be a significant advance in the early detection of colorectal cancer (CRC).

Low complication rates after screening colonoscopy
During colonoscopy screening for bowel cancer and in the four weeks after the procedure, the risk for complications to develop is low.

Patients with positive fecal screening test, sooner is better for colonoscopy
The risk of colorectal cancer increased significantly when colonoscopy was delayed by more than nine months following a positive fecal screening test, according to a large Kaiser Permanente study published today in the Journal of the American Medical Association.

Read More: Colonoscopy News and Colonoscopy Current Events
Brightsurf.com is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to Amazon.com.