Microsoft India has partnered with SRL Diagnostics pathology labs to train its AI systems in detecting cancers, reports Business Standard. The tech giant plans to teach its AI system to learn what pathologists manually do in a lab, using over a million histopathology slides from SRL’s bank.

The partnership aims to cut down on manual errors in diagnosis. According to the report, Microsoft India will initially work with healthcare providers and use their data to train Microsoft’s algorithms, after which the cases will be run through the AI to check for performance and accuracy.

Microsoft has, over the years, made several AI investments

  • In August, the company partnered with Apollo Hospitals to launch an AI-powered API to detect cardiovascular diseases in the country.
  • In December 2016, the company tied up with L V Prasad Eye Institute, Hyderabad, to launch Microsoft Intelligent Network for Eyecare (MINE) in order to drive AI applications in prevention of eye diseases. The ML model was trained with 3.3 lakh datasets to detect eye diseases such as myopia and diabetic retinopathy.

Other players looking at AI in healthcare: 

  • Google is piloting AI in eyecare in partnership with Aravind Eyecare and Sankara Eye Hospital using an image-recognition algorithm for detecting diabetic retinopathy, a preventable eye disease affecting diabetics. The eye hospitals roped in the algorithm for trials; Aravind Eyecare found that the algorithm even performed slightly better than an ophthalmologist, Google said, per Quartz India.
  • Last week, IIT Bombay joined IBM’s AI Horizons Network to drive use of AI, machine learning, natural language processing, and develop chatbots. The partnership will entail research on AI applications in financial services, retail and healthcare. 

Microsoft’s global forays into healthcare 

  • Microsoft has put together a new healthcare team and brought onboard Joshua Mandel, who was earlier with Google’s life sciences arm Verily, as chief architect in July.
  • The company also hired former CEO of Dartmouth-Hitchcock Health system Jim Weinstein as VP of Microsoft Healthcare.
  • In August, the company signed an MoU University of Hong Kong for AI research. The deal will provide students AI technology in healthcare, fintech and smart city applications.
  • In 2017, Microsoft introduced a company-wide initiative ‘Healthcare NExt’ designed to collaborate with health providers and bring together the company’s research, AI, and cloud teams to focus on healthcare.

Edit: The headline has been edited to reflect the development more accurately.