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AI-powered digital cytology can address cervical screening barriers, improving accessibility and capacity.
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AI Digital Cytology Can Improve Your Lab's Cancer Screening 

The potential of AI and digitization in transforming cytology in your lab

Hologic

The Science of Sure reflects who we are as a leading innovator in women’s health, helping healthcare professionals around the world. Our innovations are designed to achieve exceptional clinical results, making it possible to detect, diagnose and treat illnesses and other health conditions. It's just part of our dedication to improving the health and well-being of our patients and communities.To learn more, visit https://www.hologic.com/.

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Published:Aug 01, 2023
|2 min read
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Michael Quick is the Vice President of Research & Development and Innovation at Hologic, a healthcare technology company focused on improving women’s health. Mike has been with Hologic since 1996 and introduced liquid-based cytology in over 65 countries. Mike trained as a cytologist at the University of Vermont and celebrates 30 years in the field. Recently, Mike has focused on developing innovative solutions utilizing advanced imaging and AI and holds several patents for novel technologies. Mike is also a member of the board of directors and president-elect for the Digital Pathology Association.

What are the benefits of using artificial intelligence (AI) in digital cytology?

Traditionally, cytology is performed by having a cytologist review tens of thousands of cells on a glass slide under a microscope. With the combination of digital cytology and AI, instead of looking for a needle in a haystack, the AI software can identify those needles (abnormal cells indicative of cervical cancer) for you and produce an AI-generated digital gallery of the most relevant images for the cytologist to review. This faster and more intelligent review process can lead to earlier disease detection and more informed treatment decisions that could save patient lives. 

How can AI and digital cytology address some of the challenges that past technologies have been unable to solve? 

Digital solutions exist today, but most are created for histology specimens. When applied to cytology, these solutions have shortcomings that prevent realistic integration into cytology laboratories. For example, the image quality may be poor, file sizes may be too large, or the scanning speed too slow for practical application. AI-guided cytology introduces improvements over image-guided cytology, like seamless collaboration, while maintaining the same rigor and validations required for the current standard of testing.

How does the addition of digital cytology to AI improve the screening process?

Laboratories are faced with limitations in workflow, labor, and costs that exacerbate low screening rates. AI could serve as a decision support tool, meaning it guides the expert reviewer to relevant diagnostic information, resulting in a more efficient and accurate diagnosis. Digital solutions reimagine patient care by breaking down the barriers for remote and rural communities that do not have immediate access to care or a hospital system with the latest technology. 

How will AI-powered cytology help to meet the goal of eradicating cervical cancer? 

Since the highest incidence rates of cervical cancer are often observed in remote areas where patients have little to no access to care, digital cytology offers an opportunity to provide cervical cancer screening in areas where the greatest need exists. Regular and comprehensive screening can dramatically reduce cervical cancer incidence and mortality through early diagnosis and treatment. Equipped with artificial intelligence, we arm lab professionals with an invaluable tool that is critical in our fight to eradicate cervical cancer.