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23February 2022

Medtronic and Amazon plan colorectal cancer screenings in underserved communities

Medtronic (NYSE:MDT) and Amazon (NASDAQ:AMZN) today announced their plans to donate 50 Medtronic GI Genius modules to endoscopy centers serving low-income and underserved communities across the U.S.

One of the goals is to improve the detection of polyps that can lead to colorectal cancer, which is the most common cancer among adults in the U.S. — and the third deadliest.

Fridley, Minnesota-based Medtronic launched the GI Genius intelligent endoscopy module in 2019 and secured FDA authorization for marketing last year. Powered by artificial intelligence, the system automatically detects colorectal polyps of varying shapes and sizes in real-time. Medtronic said the system increases the absolute detection rate by up to 14.4%, with each 1% increase cutting a patient’s risk of colorectal cancer by 3%.

“The crisis of health inequities cannot be solved without expanding access to healthcare technologies that put people first,” Medtronic Chair and CEO Geoff Martha said in a news release. “We must begin with local efforts that consider the needs of the community.”

The American Society for Gastrointestinal Endoscopy will select facilities to receive the free equipment under the Medtronic Health Equity Assistance Program, with the hopes of helping more than 350,000 patients.

“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,” Medtronic Gastrointestinal President Giovanni Di Napoli said in a news release. “The program represents a continuation of Medtronic’s commitment to health equity anchored in healthcare technology.”

Facilities with appropriate video processing equipment must agree to provide feedback and public relations cooperation “to share physician testimonial of AI-assisted colonoscopy in clinical practice or a patient story to market colorectal cancer awareness on a local or national scale,” according to the application.

Seattle-based Amazon’s cloud computing division, Amazon Web Services, provided computing credits to help fund the screening program and is working with Medtronic on the continued development of the GI Genius system.

“Individual health outcomes should not depend on socioeconomic status, race, ethnicity, or neighborhood,” Maggie Carter, global lead for social impact at AWS, said in the news release.