Ping An AskBob Doctor Helps Identify Eye Diseases with Potential to Fill Gap in Medical Resources

HONG KONG and SHANGHAI, Aug. 26, 2020 /PRNewswire/ — Ping An Insurance (Group) Company of China, Ltd. (hereafter “Ping An” or the “Group”, HKEx:2318; SSE:601318) is pleased to announce that Ping An Smart Healthcare, the Group’s healthcare arm, has developed an automated system with artificial intelligence (AI) that can accurately identify diseases of the retina and make urgent referrals for specialist consultation. The effectiveness of the system is shown in a study published in the August issue of Translational Vision Science & Technology (TVST)[1], a respected peer-reviewed international ophthalmology journal.

Diseases such as diabetic retinopathy, age-related macular degeneration, and pathologic myopia, are major causes of visual impairment and blindness, particularly among elderly populations. Although most diseases can be cured through early diagnosis and treatment, many retinal pathologic cases are not identified in time due to the lack of ophthalmology specialists in some communities and rural areas.

Ping An’s intelligent system uses feature pyramid network-based deep learning, a type of machine learning, to automatically identify retinal disease and make urgent referrals to specialists. To test the system, the study, published in TVST, obtained 28,664 optical coherence tomography (OCT) images from 2,254 patients at the Eye and Ear, Nose and Throat Hospital of Fudan University (EENT Hospital) and the Shanghai Tenth People’s Hospital (TENTH Hospital). The system detected 15 categories of retinal pathologies from OCT images as common signs of various retinal diseases. In a second step, the pathologies detected in the OCT images and measurements that indicated changes in retinal thickness were combined and categorized using a random forest decision making tool. Cases were classified as urgent referral (within one week); routine (within three months) and observation (normal).

The result showed that the system produced significant results (see table).


Sensitivity (%)/Image

Specificity (%)/Image

Accuracy (%)/Image









Since the beginning of 2020, the model has been used to screen more than 13,000 patients in China via AskBob Doctor, Ping An’s AI-based diagnosis and treatment assistant tool. Nearly 4,000 patients were diagnosed with eye diseases of varying degrees, and 1,300 required immediate treatment to prevent vision loss.

Dr. Xie Guotong, Ping An Group Chief Healthcare Scientist, said, “Early diagnosis and treatment help to prevent vision loss. However, a shortage of eye care resources, especially in rural areas, reduces the possibility of a timely response. We developed this novel intelligence system in the hope we could help improve the capability of primary medical institutions and offer a solution to communities that lack ophthalmic resources. The accuracy and efficiency of the AI model was achieved with the support of the expert team led by EENT and TENTH hospitals and their high-quality ophthalmic data. The study shows that this intelligent system has a great value and practicality in communities that are shortage of ophthalmologists.”

Introducing new technologies to healthcare to serve online and offline patients, providers and payers, is an integral part of Ping An’s “finance + ecosystem” strategy. As of July 2020, Ping An Smart Healthcare supported a network of nearly 17,000 medical institutions across 90 cities in China. AskBob Doctor has been used 33 million times by 430,000 doctors for medical decision support, patient follow-up and patient education since its launch in June 2019.

1. An Intelligent Optical Coherence Tomography-based System for Pathological Retinal Cases Identification and Urgent Referrals, Translational Vision Science & Technology, Special Issue (Artificial Intelligence: The New Frontier), Vol 9, No.2, Article 46, August 2020.

About Ping An Group

Ping An Insurance (Group) Company of China, Ltd. (“Ping An“) is a world-leading technology-powered retail financial services group. With over 204 million retail customers and 534 million Internet users, Ping An is one of the largest financial services companies in the world.

Ping An has two over-arching strategies, “pan financial assets” and “pan health care”, which focus on the provision of financial and healthcare services through our integrated financial services platform and our five ecosystems of financial services, health care, auto services, real estate services and smart city services. Our “finance + technology” and “finance + ecosystem” strategies aim to provide customers and internet users with innovative and simple products and services using technology. As China’s first joint stock insurance company, Ping An Group is committed to upholding the highest standards of corporate reporting and corporate governance. The Company is listed on the stock exchanges in Hong Kong and Shanghai.

In 2020, Ping An ranked 7th in the Forbes Global 2000 list and ranked 21st in the Fortune Global 500 list. Ping An also ranked 38th in the 2020 WPP Kantar Millward Brown BrandZTM Top 100 Most Valuable Global Brands list. For more information, please visit

View original content:

SOURCE Ping An Insurance (Group) Company of China, Ltd.

error: Content is protected !!