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Quibim_medical advisor_Erik R

We’re thrilled to welcome Erik Ranschaert into the Quibim family! Erik is a prominent radiology innovation lead, and he will advise us and guide our efforts to better anticipate clinicians’ needs and boost human health.

As Visiting Professor of Radiology at Ghent University in Belgium, Erik has focused on facilitating the introduction of cutting-edge technology in radiologists’ daily routine. He is the past president of the European Society of Medical Imaging Informatics (EuSoMII), a subspecialty organization affiliated to the European Society of Radiology (ESR) and the co-editor and author of the first book about Artificial Intelligence for Medical Imaging.

Erik is a passionate advocate for AI use in clinical practice. “I’m really enthusiastic about this new development and see a lot of possibilities,” he said.

Making AI mainstream

Implementing AI into hospitals’ workflows is a complex and slow process, yet also an adventure, according to our new advisor, who has helped launch a few solutions in his hospital for Chest X-Ray analysis, bone fracture detection, and Brain CT and Chest CT analysis.

AI is quite disruptive. It has an impact on the entire workflow, not just radiology. It’s going in the right direction, but it will take some more effort.”

Erik has worked with several AI providers to create and train algorithms, and he has a good image of the young industry.

You soon start noticing very persevering backgrounds among them,” he said. “Quibim founders, Prof. Luis Martí-Bonmatí and Angel Alberich-Bayarri, are two of the most interesting profiles I’ve met.

Erik has collaborated with Quibim on several projects, most recently the creation of an algorithm for the analysis of Chest CT scans in patients with suspected Covid-19 infection, based upon the input of 27 hospitals.

In his former role at EuSoMII, he has had the opportunity to witness Quibim’s approach of development. “There’s a very close correlation between research and development, a real connection between science and academia,” he said. “On their catalogue of biomarkers, you can find references to the scientific papers they’ve published on the training and development of their algorithms. This really shows the quality of their approach.

Its scientific drive, but also vision make Quibim stand out in the medical imaging AI panorama, he believes. “Quibim is trying to measure the properties of the tissue,” he said. “Most AI developers are only working on detecting lesions in dedicated body parts, but Quibim is also active in measuring what’s going on inside the tissue. They have this whole-body approach and tackle the brain, chest, liver, prostate and other organs. It’s really quite unique.

Looking at tissue without having to open the patient is the way to go for the future. “There will be a time when we can avoid biopsies and invasive procedures,” he said. “It will be thanks to the development of biomarkers and tools that can facilitate cancer diagnosis that we will be able to reach the stage in which each treatment can be adapted to the properties of the patient, which is also called personalized medicine.”

Deepening bonds and raising awareness

Erik is now jumping in with both feet in Quibim’s adventure. “I’m very happy to be in their advisory team and extend our existing connection. It’s grown out of mutual collaboration, it’s a matter of trust as well and understanding of each other’s vision. We’re on the same wavelength.”

In his new role, he will work to help the team fine tune its already excellent understanding of the medical needs. “Everything they develop focuses on existing needs from the clinical environment, I just want to take it one step further,” he said.

He plans to raise awareness of diverse AI applications among radiologists, by educating them on the value of using such tools, notably by developing a teaching module based upon the Quibim Precision® platform, our ecosystem of apps that scans every body part.

Using his large network inside the radiology industry, Erik will also help the team find new projects and potential partners in the clinical field with the intention of developing and validating new applications.

We’re in a transition phase, our profession is changing. We’ve been more focused on morphology and we’re switching to an approach based upon data analysis, which is more about organ function and tissue properties,” he said. “This is something new for both radiologists and clinicians and they need guidance. You must show them that this data is available. They have to learn how to use it to make an effective diagnosis and plan a better treatment for the patient.”

Tools such as QP-Prostate, for example, could be useful to analyze anomalies in the prostate. With this solution, you can add information that can help you make a more confident diagnosis,’ he said.

He sees his role as a long-term engagement. “Launching a product is not once in a lifetime, it’s a continuum. You have to look at what users are doing, what the outcomes are and what the effect is on clinical treatment and diagnosis.”

For him, Quibim’s future looks bright. “With the new outlook and the number of products, Quibim’s tracking potential is increasing. If you add the team spirit and their experience, drive, perseverance and openness for collaborations, I don’t really know what can stop them.”

Melisande Rouger