MNI Wicks AI Stroke Care HERO


AI Tools Are Helping Speed Stroke Care at Baptist Health

Baptist Health Miami Neuroscience Institute

Artificial Intelligence (AI) is doing everything these days, it seems, from handling customer inquiries to forecasting hurricanes and even driving cars. It’s also helping neurosurgeons speed up delivery of stroke care during the so-called “golden hour” – the first 60 minutes following a stroke in which doctors have the greatest opportunity to restore blood flow and save precious brain tissue.


Robert Wicks, M.D., co-director of cerebrovascular surgery and director of the neuroendovascular surgery fellowship at Baptist Health Miami Neuroscience Institute, says AI helps Baptist’s stroke care teams save valuable time in diagnosing stroke.


Robert Wicks, of cerebrovascular surgery and director of the neuroendovascular surgery fellowship at Baptist Health Miami Neuroscience Institute


“When someone suffers a stroke, every minute counts,” says Dr. Wicks, noting that millions of neurons are lost every few minutes with a blockage to the brain. “It’s why we say ‘time is brain’ with stroke care.”


Dr. Wicks says that stroke care teams at Baptist Health use the VizAI platform to aid in stroke diagnosis. The platform uses FDA-cleared algorithms to analyze medical imaging data, including CT scans, EKGs, echocardiograms and more, and provide real-time insights and automated assessments to accelerate diagnosis and treatment.


VizAi technology speeds critical analysis, enhances team communication and improves patient outcomes, says Dr. Wicks. “Before, it would take 30 minutes or more for the neuroradiologist to thoroughly analyze the CT angiogram in order to determine if there was decreased blood flow in a particular part of the patient’s brain. Now we get that information – and much more – in a matter of seconds,” he says.


Seeing if intervention is needed

Through the VizAI app on their phones, Dr. Wicks and others on the stroke team are able to see if there has been damage to the brain and where exactly it occurred.


“It doesn’t matter where I am,” he says. “I can view 3-D scans in high-resolution and can rotate the images and zoom in to see exactly what’s going on at a vascular level. It allows me to quickly determine if the patient requires immediate intervention.”



Dr. Wicks adds that VizAI facilitates communication among the multidisciplinary team, some of whom may not be onsite with the patient but consulting remotely. “In a situation where every second counts and you’ve got different specialists working together from different locations, close collaboration and rapid communication is essential,” he says.


Helping doctors make better decisions

Dr. Wicks stresses that the main advantage of AI is its ability to summarize large volumes of information in seconds, which enables the stroke team to speed up decision-making. “AI gives us better tools to make decisions, which means we’re able to save valuable time treating the patient,” he says.


Will AI eventually render the physician obsolete? Dr. Wicks says that day is a long way off. “AI helps to guide us but it hasn’t reached a level that it could replace a physician. The technology still has a way to go,” he says.


There are even times when he may disagree with an AI diagnosis, according to Dr. Wicks. “AI is great at instantly gathering lots of information from multiple sources but I don’t always agree with what it’s telling me,” he admits. “It’s not yet able to discern what information is good and what information is bad. That’s where clinical experience becomes irreplaceable.”


Improving diagnosis of breast cancer

AI is also being used to help diagnose breast cancer even earlier, according to Kathy Schilling, M.D., medical director of the Christine E. Lynn Women’s Health & Wellness Institute at Boca Raton Regional Hospital, part of Baptist Health.


A study by breast radiologists at Lynn Women’s Institute revealed that adding AI technology to existing 3D mammography for breast cancer screening helps catch cancers before they can be detected by the human eye on images.


Kathy Schilling Cropped Headshot Thumbnail

Kathy Schilling, M.D., medical director of the Christine E. Lynn Women’s Health & Wellness Institute at Boca Raton Regional Hospital


“With AI, we are finding cancers years before we would find them without AI,” Dr. Schilling says. “This technology is having a significant impact. We are seeing that less therapy is needed for our patients. They may not require chemotherapy or radiation therapy.”


Whether it’s used for detecting breast cancer or diagnosing stroke, AI is improving patient outcomes at Baptist Health by giving doctors the information they need to provide even better, more timely care.

Healthcare that Cares

With internationally renowned centers of excellence, 12 hospitals, more than 27,000 employees, 4,000 physicians and 200 outpatient centers, urgent care facilities and physician practices spanning across Miami-Dade, Monroe, Broward and Palm Beach counties, Baptist Health is an anchor institution of the South Florida communities we serve.

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