New AI tools for breast screening services

Published: 19 June 2019 Ezine

Software to help mammography services run more efficiently and to check mammograms are being developed by companies working with NHS partners.

In October 2018, the East Midlands Radiology Consortium (EMRAD) was confirmed as a Wave 2 national NHS Test bed, bringing NHS organisations and industry partners together to use digital technologies to ‘transform’ the way healthcare is delivered.

In total, seven Wave 2 Test Beds were selected to test a new set of innovations and tackle health and care challenges. Faculty and Kheiron Medical are the two UK artificial intelligence companies who partnered with EMRAD for the programme, and each are developing AI software.

EMRAD is the collaboration of seven NHS Trusts in the East Midlands working in radiology. The aim is to improve clinical service capacity, enhance patient care at significant scale and increase confidence in the use of AI.

Faculty are focusing on the operational aspects of breast screening services, including:

  • A breast screening round-length and optimisation tool
  • An intelligent clinic and staff scheduling tool
  • A smarter clinic booking tool

Faculty’s software, Platform, will be deployed in the two breast screening services test bed sites. 

Simon Harris, EMRAD project manager, said: “We’d like to be in a position where the technology is being used by operational staff and is trusted to support key day-to-day functions.”

Kheiron Medical have developed a CE marked Mammography Intelligent Assessment tool (Mia). If successful, it will act as the second reader in a breast screening workflow.

Simon said, “We are initially starting this project in two of our trusts: Nottingham University Hospitals and United Lincolnshire Hospitals. Our test bed is clinically and patient/public led and they are at the heart of our decision making.”

For Khieron’s Mia product, EMRAD hope to move to a prospective model running alongside the human-led process. 

“This will be really interesting and raise all manner of consent and ethical questions, all of which will need to be grappled with before we can adopt the technology,” Simon commented.

Concluding, Simon said, “Ultimately, if we can deploy these two pieces of AI and scale up within EMRAD and hopefully the wider NHS, we will make a positive difference to how breast screening services are run and support the severe workforce challenges that the NHS is currently facing.”