Abu Dhabi hospital becomes first in Middle East to train doctors to use AI-guided 'stethoscope of the future'

Only a few courses are available globally that cover this integrated topic for medical practitioners


Ismail Sebugwaawo

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Published: Thu 5 May 2022, 3:46 PM

Last updated: Thu 5 May 2022, 10:01 PM

Abu Dhabi's Sheikh Shakhbout Medical City (SSMC) has become the first hospital in the Middle East to launch an academy for upskilling medical practitioners using the Artificial Intelligence (AI)-guided point-of-care ultrasound (POCUS) device.

“The point-of-care ultrasound or ‘POCUS’ academy, aims to equip health care professionals to enhance the physical examination of patients at bedside," said Dr. Siddiq Anwar, consultant nephrologist at SSMC.

The multi disciplinary course improves the initial assessment process, advances the timelines and quality of care for patients and, ultimately, saves more lives.

“This initiative is part of SSMC’s Education Shield’s mission to become a research and innovation leader in the region and create opportunities for health care professionals to advance health care practices,” he added.

The course is led by Dr. Siddiq Anwar, Dr. Hatem Soliman, consultant cardiac intensivist at the Royal Brompton and Harefield hospitals in the UK, and Fernando Maravilla, who is the Director of Education at a medical device company.

SSMC is the first facility to provide a comprehensive POCUS Hemodynamic Assessment training all in one course, making the programme a first-of-its kind in the Middle East. Only a few courses are available globally that cover this integrated topic.

By enabling health care professionals to make a more objective assessment of patients’ circulatory system, the AI-guided point-of-care ultrasound is set to replace the stethoscope over time.

Dr. Soliman commented: “This pioneering project will tremendously improve patient care as well as upskill the medical workforce with the stethoscope of the future.”

POCUS does not replace in-depth or comprehensive consultation with specialists, however, it helps address focused questions at bedside. The artificial intelligence tool aims to aid the non-expert with the learning curve and help practitioners to get quick answers to short or urgent questions about the patient’s condition at bedside assessment.

Furthermore, the device can also be used in emergency situations across various specialities by any medical staff trained in POCUS.

Dr. Deanne Kashiwagi, Chair of Internal Medicine and Director of Internal Medicine Program at SSMC said: “This tool advances traditional patient assessment modalities and expands our capacity to provide excellent patient-centered care.”

Previously, the training course was available to SSMC practitioners only but is now also open to medical professionals across the UAE and GCC.

The course includes theoretical lectures, followed by hands-on training.

“As part of an ongoing research and academic partnership, all medical images and corresponding expert annotations captured during the training will be used to teach the machine-learning algorithms to recognise certain aspects of ultrasound images,” said Dr. Anwar.


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