Among health care systems and payers--both government and private--this term implies unnecessary risk to patients, diminished quality of care, and increased health care costs. From the numerous studies and papers published on the topic, a common description emerges: unwarranted variations are not directly due to the inherent variations of a given patient; rather to the variations in the processes and conditions of how care is delivered, especially when it results in inconsistencies in the adherence to and administering of evidence-based guidelines of care. Consider the variations that exist among complex disease pathways such as oncology. In lung cancer, over 75% of patients are at an advanced state of disease when diagnosed, making it the leading cause of cancer deaths among both men and women. Thus, early detection, either as a focused diagnosis or an incidental finding, is key for an optimal five-year survival rate, as is the rapid commencement of a treatment protocol. At the other end of the spectrum is prostate cancer.
Imagine being able to know if you have Parkinson's disease, multiple sclerosis, liver failure, Crohn's diseases, pulmonary hypertension, chronic kidney disease, or any number of cancers based on a simple, non-invasive test of your breath. Breath analyzers to detect alcohol have been around for well over half a century--why not apply the same concept to detect diseases? A global team of scientists from universities in Israel, France, Latvia, China and the United States have developed an artificial intelligence (AI) system to detect 17 diseases from exhaled breath with 86 percent accuracy. The research team led by Professor Hassam Haick of the Technion-Israel Institute of Technology collected breath samples from 1404 subjects with either no disease (healthy control) or one of 17 different diseases. The disease conditions include lung cancer, colorectal cancer, head and neck cancer, ovarian cancer, bladder cancer, prostate cancer, kidney cancer, gastric cancer, Crohn's disease, ulcerative colitis, irritable bowel syndrome, idiopathic Parkinson's, atypical Parkinson ISM, multiple sclerosis, pulmonary hypertension, pre-eclampsia toxemia, and chronic kidney disease.