Tencent Granted Approval for Innovative Medical Device

China’s National Medical Products Administration granted approval on August 31 to Tencent Healthcare (Shenzhen) Co., Ltd. for the registration of its innovative product, “Fundus Image Assisted Diagnosis Software for Chronic Glaucoma-Like Optic Neuropathy.” Tencent has thus become the first Chinese internet technology company to be awarded the formal registration of an innovative medical device.

This set of products is a joint research achievement by Tencent Miying and the team of Professor Wang Ningli from Beijing Tongren Hospital. It uses deep learning artificial intelligence algorithms to provide clinical assisted triage recommendations.

The product constructs corresponding sub-classification models based on different visual field ranges. The algorithm engine adopts a multi-model integrated learning strategy and provides indications of suspected chronic glaucoma-like optic neuropathy. It provides practicing physicians with indications of suspected chronic glaucoma-like optic neuropathy and suggestions on whether further medical examination is needed.

In addition, the product provides a quality control method for fundus camera imaging. It can automatically identify common fundus image quality problems in the clinic, such as non-fundus images, large area smudging and refractive interstitial clouding. With this product, accuracy and confidence of auxiliary diagnosis can be effectively improved, and China’s shortage of medical resources for glaucoma diagnosis is expected to be solved.

Glaucoma is the second-most common form of blindness worldwide, behind only cataracts. Professor Wang Ningli noted that the uneven distribution of medical resources in China makes it difficult to efficiently cover all people with glaucoma screening services. Therefore, the detection rate is low and the late-stage rate is high. Digital technologies such as AI may be able to solve the problem more effectively.

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Tencent Miying, which was released in 2017, is Tencent‘s first AI product applied to the medical field. Qian Tianyi, the general manager of Tencent Miying, has said that it could help clinicians improve the efficiency and accuracy of glaucoma diagnosis. With the help of digital technologies such as cloud computing and 5G networks, it is also expected to form a new model of remote screening relying on the internet and expand the coverage of universal glaucoma screening.