Wednesday, May 22, 2024
Home Health AI is set to be used in NHS hospitals for the first time after health regulator gives the green light for its deployment in radiology departments

AI is set to be used in NHS hospitals for the first time after health regulator gives the green light for its deployment in radiology departments

by nytime
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  • Nine AI platforms have been given the green light in draft guidance from NICE 
  • Software can relieve ‘severe pressures’ on radiographers in healthcare settings 

AI will be used in NHS hospitals for the first time after the health regulator approved its deployment in radiology departments.

Nine artificial intelligence platforms have been given the green light in draft guidance from the National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (Nice).

The AI software can relieve ‘severe pressure’ on radiographers by creating outlines of cancer patients’ healthy organs in lung, prostate or colorectal cancers.

At the moment, radiographers outline healthy organs on a CT or MRI scan by hand.

Nice found AI platforms ‘generally produce similar quality contours’ as those carried out manually, with most only needing ‘minor edits’.

Using the technology could be quicker, giving clinicians more time to spend with patients or focus on more complex cases.

It is the first piece of Nice guidance to recommend the use of AI to aid clinicians in their role.

The AI software can relieve 'severe pressure' on radiographers by creating outlines of cancer patients' healthy organs in lung, prostate or colorectal cancers. At the moment, radiographers outline healthy organs on a CT or MRI scan by hand (Stock Image)

The AI software can relieve ‘severe pressure’ on radiographers by creating outlines of cancer patients’ healthy organs in lung, prostate or colorectal cancers. At the moment, radiographers outline healthy organs on a CT or MRI scan by hand (Stock Image)

Sarah Byron, programme director for health technologies at the public body, said: ‘NHS colleagues working on the front line in radiotherapy departments are under severe pressure with thousands of people waiting for scans.

‘The role imaging plays in radiotherapy treatment planning is quite pivotal, so recommending the use of AI technologies to help support treatment planning alongside clinical oversight by a trained healthcare professional could save both time and money.’

Evidence suggests between three and 80 minutes per treatment plan could be saved by using AI, depending on the amount of editing needed.

Nice said the lowest potential time saving of three minutes could save doctors 3,750 hours per 75,000 treatment plans.

On the higher end of the scale – 80 minutes – 100,000 hours would be saved.

The cost of using the technologies ranged from £4 to £50 per plan.

However, Nice said all contours produced using AI must still be reviewed by a trained healthcare professional and edited as needed before being used to plan treatment.

Nice is currently carrying out a consultation on its draft guidance, which will run until August 25.

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