It is reported that the global tech giant, Facebook, is working on the creation of MRI scans that will use artificial intelligence (AI) to cut the time taken to do the scan to two minutes from its typical sixty minutes. If Facebook can help to achieve this outcome, then will this be the first of other global health innovations to come?
The reports say that there is a Facebook team working on the MRI scan innovation and that over the last two years they have worked with radiologists to incorporate an artificial intelligence tool into MRI scanners that only needs a quarter of the usual MRI scan data to extrapolate and predict what the rest of the scan would have looked like under normal scan procedures.
This has two obvious benefits. It means that people, for example children and the seriously ill and disabled, who cannot stay still for the normal MRI scan time would be able to have MRI scans to help their diagnoses and prognoses. And it also means for healthcare facilities all over the world that they would be able to process more MRI scans using the same resources. This could significantly reduce the cost of MRI scans this making their availability more accessible.
And does it mean that Facebook will be following in the footsteps of Bill and Melinda Gates’ foundation that had by 2019 helped vaccinate more than 760 million children worldwide and prevent 13 million deaths?
Their foundation has in addition, also succeeded in bringing even more vaccines and supplies into the marketplace while at the same time lowering prices. An example of this is that a single dose of the pentavalent vaccine, which protects people against five deadly infections, now costs less than a dollar whereas it used to cost $3.65.
All of this work is providing affordable healthcare access which is vital for the world’s health and wealth. The current pandemic is testament to that.