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Medtronic, a global leader in healthcare technology, and the American Society for Gastrointestinal Endoscopy (ASGE), have announced they are working to provide colorectal cancer screening technologies in low income and underserved communities across the United States through the Medtronic Health Equity Assistance Program for colon cancer screening, with support from Amazon Web Services (AWS).
The initiative will include the donation of 50 Medtronic GI Genius™ intelligent endoscopy modules to endoscopy centers across the country that can potentially improve the detection of polyps that can lead to colorectal cancer. Certain types of colorectal cancer, when caught early, can have a survival rate (five year) of up to 91%; however, it remains the third most common and third deadliest cancer among adults in the United States. With these placements, there is an opportunity to potentially impact more than 350,000 patients over three years. The goal of this program is to increase early detection and diagnosis in underserved communities.
“Addressing gaps in colorectal cancer screening is complex. We know that black adults are more likely to be diagnosed and subsequently die from this disease. There are also disparities in screenings among different groups, including adults in rural communities,” said Douglas K Rex, MD, MASGE, president, ASGE. “Colonoscopy is critical in preventing colorectal cancer and as the global leader in gastrointestinal endoscopy, ASGE is working together with Medtronic to ensure that providers receive screening technology and are able to use them in communities where they are most needed.”
AWS has provided computing credits that have made the funding of this program possible and continues to work with Medtronic to support the ongoing development of GI Genius™ and innovative future Medtronic health screening technologies that will further support Medtronic’s health equity efforts. ASGE is independently leading the application and selection process to determine the facilities that otherwise would be unable to fund this innovative solution for underserved patient populations. Initial recipients will be announced in March 2022 during Colorectal Cancer Awareness Month.
“The crisis of health inequities cannot be solved without expanding access to healthcare technologies that put people first,” said Geoff Martha, Medtronic chairman and chief executive officer. “We must begin with local efforts that consider the needs of the community. This program is an important step towards ensuring that our powerful technologies help reduce disparities, improve care and enhance patient outcomes.”
The GI Genius intelligent endoscopy module, authorized by the FDA in April 2021, detects colorectal polyps of varying shapes and sizes automatically in real time which helps diagnose and prevent colorectal cancer. It is the first-to-market, computer-aided polyp detection system powered by artificial intelligence (AI) that provides physicians with a powerful solution in the fight to screen, detect and prevent colorectal cancer and an increase of up to 14.4% absolute detection rate (ADR). Each 1% increase in ADR decreases patients’ risk of colorectal cancer by 3%.
Earlier this month, Medtronic released its Global Inclusion, Diversity and Equity Annual Report, which maps out the Company’s Zero Barriers commitment to remove barriers to opportunity – including efforts to improve access to healthcare technology. As part of this work, Medtronic introduced several initiatives in 2021 to reduce health inequities among people of color living with diabetes, including supporting the American Diabetes Association’s Technology Access Project.
“This effort is part of Medtronic’s Zero Barriers approach to building equity within our healthcare system, accelerating our innovation and helping to bring our lifesaving technologies to more patients,” said Giovanni Di Napoli, president of the Medtronic Gastrointestinal business, which is part of the Medical Surgical Portfolio at Medtronic. “The program represents a continuation of Medtronic’s commitment to health equity anchored in healthcare technology.”
“Individual health outcomes should not depend on socioeconomic status, race, ethnicity, or neighborhood,” said Maggie Carter, global lead for social impact at AWS. “We are pleased to support Medtronic and ASGE as part of AWS’s recently launched health equity program to help these organizations bring effective screening tools to the communities that need them most.”