AtlantiCare is 1st in Northeast to deploy clinic for early lung cancer diagnosis and treatment

AtlantiCare joined leading health care systems worldwide by becoming the first system in the northeastern U.S. to use the Optellum Virtual Nodule Clinic, integrating the technology into its early lung cancer diagnosis program at its Heart & Lung and Cancer Care institutes at AtlantiCare Regional Medical Center.

Lung cancer is among the most common types of cancer and the leading cause of cancer deaths in the world, according to the American Lung Association.

One of the best opportunities for early diagnosis of small, presymptomatic lung cancers is presented by the 2 million patients in the U.S. every year whose lung nodule is identified incidentally during chest CT scans ordered for other reasons, such as during an emergency department visit or cardiac event.

Optellum is the leader in artificial intelligence-enabled lung cancer diagnosis. This first-of-a-kind platform can help physicians identify and track at-risk patients so that they can biopsy concerning lesions early and start treatments sooner to improve the outcome of patients’ care.

By adopting the Optellum Virtual Nodule Clinic, the interventional pulmonology team at AtlantiCare’s Lung Nodule Clinic, led by Dr. Amit Borah, interventional pulmonologist, focuses on identifying and systematically following up on patients with incidentally detected lung nodules.

Optellum’s integrated Lung Cancer Prediction capability also helps AtlantiCare clinicians prioritize patients at high risk of having lung cancer. Since AtlantiCare began using the Patient Discovery search, it has identified approximately 50 out of 300 patients who had lesions that need close surveillance.

“Early-stage lung cancer symptoms are often vague or mimic those of other illnesses,” Borah said. “Through this technology, we are detecting suspicious nodules at earlier stages than ever, which is so critical to saving lives.”

Borah explained the technology sends an alert to AtlantiCare’s interventional pulmonology team if it detects a nodule through a CT scan done at AtlantiCare Regional Medical Center.

The AI solution operates within AtlantiCare’s Lung Nodule Clinic. AtlantiCare was one of the first health care organizations in the nation to offer Ethicon’s MONARCH robotic bronchoscopy platform, acquired by Johnson & Johnson in 2019.

The Virtual Nodule Clinic preoperative AI assessment helps inform clinical decisions for appropriate follow-up interventions using the MONARCH techniques, with the goal of achieving the earliest possible and least invasive treatment. Thanks to this unique combination, the clinician can find patients with the smallest and hardest-to-reach tumors and deploy the robotic bronchoscope to reach and biopsy the regions highlighted with the help of the Optellum AI.