UPMC teams with AI company to scan EHRs of breast cancer patients

Pittsburgh-based UPMC is teaming up with natural language understanding company Realyze Intelligence to study whether an invasive procedure is the right diagnostic tool for certain cancer patients. Realyze is a portfolio company of UPMC Enterprises, the health system's venture capital arm.

The study aims to determine whether sentinel lymph node biopsy, a risky surgery that may be helpful for some patients, is appropriate for identifying early-stage breast cancer in women younger than 70. Realyze's platform is designed to rapidly read clinical notes and structured data from patients' EHRs to determine who likely wouldn't benefit from the procedure.

"Sometimes the most interesting and relevant data points are in the unstructured field of a patient's record," said lead researcher Adrian Lee, PhD, director of the UPMC/University of Pittsburgh Institute for Precision Medicine and breast cancer investigator at UPMC Hillman Cancer Center and Magee-Womens Research Institute, in a Sept. 7 UPMC news release. "Having the ability to record and analyze the data from these fields is essential to understanding if [sentinel lymph node biopsies] are necessary for this patient population."

Early research from UPMC suggests that the biopsies could be expanded to more patients.

"Our goal is to help researchers, clinicians and health systems get the most of their clinical records and data to drive better care," stated Aaron Brauser, president and CEO of Realyze.

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