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Subspecialties Retina, Professional Development

AI Alliance

Artificial Intelligence (AI) is undoubtedly revolutionizing the medical landscape. In enhancing diagnostics, treatment plans, and healthcare processes, the technology’s possibilities are near endless. Now, a strategic alliance between RetinAI and the Retina Consultants of America (RCA) is placing AI at center stage.

By combining RetinAI’s expertise in AI-powered clinical and imaging data management with RCA’s knowledge of providing specialist retinal care throughout the US, the partnership aims “to transform the retinal space” and provide enhanced patient care.

Here, Carlos Ciller, CEO of RetinAI, tells us what the collaboration means for the retinal space and how it will further drive AI technologies in the medical industry.

How did the collaboration between RetinAI and RCA come about?

In 2020, as RCA was adding more retina specialists to its team, David M. Brown – the head of RCA's Medical Leadership Board – started discussions with the RetinAI group about their RetinAI Discovery platform and AI models. Prior to the partnership announcement in July 2023, a test pilot project was conducted to gauge how RetinAI's system and AI-based biomarker analysis and platform could enhance data analysis for retina experts. Both parties realized that by combining RetinAI's technology with RCA's expertise, we could change the depth and understanding of patients and diseases.

What are the primary goals of the partnership?

In our mutual quest to fight vision-threatening diseases with data-driven decisions, one of the primary goals of the partnership is to improve patient outcomes. To this end, RetinAI and RCA are building the most comprehensive real world evidence database for ophthalmology in the US, linking clinical data with biomarker insights from quality-driven imaging data. More specifically, we plan to expand into retinal diseases such as age-related macular degeneration (AMD), diabetic macular edema (DME), and diabetic retinopathy (DR), and other areas of cardiovascular and neurodegenerative diseases where retinal imaging plays a role. By Q4 2023,we plan to have insights available for geographic atrophy.

How do you foresee the partnership advancing AI-driven technologies in the medical industry?

We see AI becoming a powerful engine to unlock knowledge about patterns and trends in real-world data that cannot be easily seen through traditional analyses. In the future, we’ll see this technology seamlessly integrated into routine medical care, into clinical and pharmaceutical research, helping healthcare stakeholders in their decision-making and supporting target-based R&D pathways for new therapies and diagnostics.

How are you ensuring the secure handling and protection of patient data, given the sensitive nature of medical information involved?

Data privacy and security are top priorities for both RCA and RetinAI. Only de-identified and fully anonymized records under the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act of 1996 (HIPAA) compliance will be considered as part of our collaboration, and we have implemented safeguards to protect the confidentiality, integrity, and availability of any electronic protected information.

How does the partnership align with RetinAI's long-term growth strategy?

We hope to significantly improve vision and health outcomes for patients globally by enabling the right decisions sooner in healthcare. We see this partnership broadening our ties to ophthalmology and expanding into other disease areas with the development of the real-world evidence (RWE) database, bringing an unprecedented level of insight and knowledge to the healthcare community.

As leaders in advanced data management and AI analytics for ophthalmology, adding RWE solutions will strengthen our role in driving better data-driven decisions through technology advancement.

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About the Author
Sarah Healey

Communicating stories in a way that is accessible to all was one of the focal points of my Creative Writing degree. Although writing magical realism is a fun endeavor (and one I still dabble in), getting to the heart of human stories has always been the driving motivator behind my writing. At Texere, I am able to connect with the people behind scientific breakthroughs and share their stories in a way that is impactful and engaging.

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