Medtronic plc, a global leader in healthcare technology, and the American Society for Gastrointestinal Endoscopy (ASGE) announced they are expanding the Medtronic Health Equity Assistance Program for colon cancer screening in medically underserved communities across the United States, with support from Amazon Web Services’s (AWS) Health Equity Initiative. The GI Genius units provided as part of the program have increased from 50 to 133 systems being placed at 62 facilities.
Grady Memorial Hospital in Atlanta, Ga. was the first to receive its donated GI Genius units last month following the launch of the program in February 2022. Gastroenterologists at Grady Memorial Hospital perform more than 7,000 colon cancer screening procedures each year among a predominantly Black community. Accounting for 80% of the specialty’s patient population, 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,” said Benjamin D. Renelus, M.D., a gastroenterologist at Grady Memorial Hospital. “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.”
“This endeavor is a unique and inspiring opportunity to contribute enormously to the reduction of colorectal cancer screening disparities in communities where patients are disproportionately uninsured and have historically faced barriers accessing life-saving preventative care, including healthcare technology that can aid in detecting colorectal cancer,” said Fola May, M.D., Ph.D., Associate Professor of Medicine, Director of Quality Improvement in Gastroenterology, and Health Equity Researcher at UCLA Health.
“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.”
The GI Genius intelligent endoscopy module, authorized by the FDA in April 2021, is the first-to-market, computer-aided polyp detection system powered by artificial intelligence (AI) to detect colorectal polyps of varying shapes and sizes automatically in real time which helps diagnose and prevent colorectal cancer. In the first U.S. trial using GI Genius, results published this spring showed a 50% reduction in missed colorectal polyps with AI technology versus 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,” said Dr. Austin Chiang, M.D., M.P.H., Chief Medical Officer of the Gastrointestinal business, which is part of the Medical Surgical Portfolio at Medtronic. “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.”
The American Society for Gastrointestinal Endoscopy, who led the submission and selection process for this program, recently released their full list of recipients for donated GI Genius units.