Liverpool Heart and Chest Hospital NHS Foundation Trust (LHCH) has partnered with Amsterdam-based medtech company Aidence to use artificial intelligence (AI) in routine clinical practice and lung cancer screening.
Using Aidence’s CE certified AI solution, Veye Chest, radiologists at the hospital will be better equipped to analyse the approximately 7,000 routine and screening chest CT scans performed each year.
“LHCH are excited to work in partnership with Aidence and to continue the development of software which supports consultants with reporting”, said Dr. Caroline McCann, Consultant Radiologist at LHCH. “Veye Chest gives us confidence that we are at the forefront of implementing lung cancer CT screening using artificial intelligence, leading to better patient outcomes.”
Veye Chest detects, classifies, and tracks the growth of pulmonary nodules as small as 3mm. The results are made available directly into the existing workflow before the radiologist starts reporting. The AI solution has been deployed across multiple sites in Europe for both routine clinical practice and screening and is currently analysing over 1,000 scans per week.
Mark-Jan Harte, CEO of Aidence, said: “The partnership with Liverpool Heart and Chest Hospital is invaluable to Aidence. We’ve been working together for a long time and sealing this collaboration confirms our strong relationship. As the benefits of lung cancer screening are now proven, we believe Veye Chest will make scan reporting more efficient and support early lung cancer detection.”
Manchester-born Lizzie Barclay, Medical Director at Aidence and a former NHS Radiology Registrar, has been closely involved in the development of Veye Chest, and its new interactive module, Veye Reporting. “I know how important it is to design tools that will suit not only the NHS and the patient, but also the radiologist,” she says. “Veye Reporting therefore produces reports that follow the NHS template, with the radiologist having control over which nodules to include in the report, easy sharing options, and the choice of adding incidental findings.”
The partnership further entails LHCH to become the regional reference site for Aidence and underlines its commitment to research the benefits of Veye Chest and Veye Reporting in a clinical setting. LHCH has also supported Aidence with its application for the NHSX AI Award, which provides funding for companies and NHS trusts for the adoption and research of AI technologies in healthcare.
About AI within the NHS
The shortage of radiologists within the NHS has been escalating for the past five years and is affecting the cost and quality of patient care, according to the most recent census by the Royal College of Radiologists. The report was published before the coronavirus pandemic, which has placed medical staff under additional pressure.
AI can take on some of the time-consuming, manual reporting tasks in radiology. Analysing and reporting CT chest scans for lung nodules is notoriously tedious and error-prone. Monitoring nodule progression is particularly laborious, as it requires manual analysis and comparison of scans. Automating these tasks with AI frees up time for radiologists to handle more complex cases and interact with patients and colleagues – ultimately, the things only humans can do. AI can further assist radiologists to follow the detailed and complex reporting protocols required by screening programmes.
As part of a long term plan to meet healthcare challenges, the UK government is investing in AI solutions in an effort to “transform the prevention, early diagnosis and treatment of chronic diseases by 2030”.Better use of AI and data is expected to improve survival rates for around 20,000 people diagnosed with cancer.
About Liverpool Heart and Chest Hospital
LHCH is a specialist heart and chest hospital and NHS foundation trust that has twice been rated as outstanding. It serves a catchment area of 2.8 million people, spanning Merseyside, Cheshire, North Wales and the Isle of Man and is located in the Broadgreen district of Liverpool.