Coronavirus patients to benefit from AI

Thanks to the use of latest artificial intelligence, COVID-19 patients will benefit from faster treatment, shorter hospital stays and improved outcomes. Diagnosis of patients with COVID-19 symptoms will be improved, faster and more accurate with an AI imaging database.

The NHSX have brought together more than,40,000 CT scans, x-rays and MRIs for the use of more than 10,000 patients during the pandemic.

The National COVID-19 Chest Imaging Database (NCCID) is now available for universities and hospitals across the country to be used in tracking patterns and markers of illness using the images from the database. The NCCID speeds up diagnosis of COVID-19 and can lead to a faster treatment plan and an understanding of whether a patient may need intensive care.

Matt Hancock, Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, said:

“The use of artificial intelligence is already beginning to transform patient care by making the NHS a more predictive, preventive and personalised health and care service.

“It is vital we always search for new ways to improve care, especially as we fight the pandemic with the recovery beyond. This excellent work is testament to how technology can help to save lives in the UK.”

An algorithm is being developed by Clinicians at Addenbrooke’s Hospital in Cambridge based on images from the NCCID. Visual signatures in the images are compared to patterns in the patient’s imaging from their chest scans. This helps to get a more accurate diagnosis and prognosis.

Being able to understand the earlier stages of the diseases enables clinicians to implement the best medical interventions early on, reducing the chance of complications at a later stage. This will result in being able to predict the need for additional ICU beds, giving medication and oxygen before the patient gets critical and managing the beds and staff in those settings.

Carola-Bibiane Schönlieb, Professor of Applied Mathematics and head of the Cambridge Image Analysis group at the University of Cambridge, said:

“The NCCID has been invaluable in accelerating our research and provided us with a diverse, well-curated, dataset of UK patients to use in our algorithm development.

“The ability to access the data for 18 different trusts centrally has increased our efficiency and ensures we can focus most of our time on designing and implementing the algorithms for use in the clinic for the benefit of patients.
“By understanding in the early stages of disease, whether a patient is likely to deteriorate, we can intervene earlier to change the course of their disease and potentially save lives as a result.”

Researchers from Bradford and the University College London are using the NCCID to develop AI tools that assist doctors to improve the treatment of COVID-19 patients.

Dominic Cushnan, Head of AI Imaging at NHSX, said:

“We are applying the power of artificial intelligence to quickly detect disease patterns and develop new treatments for patients. There is huge potential for patient care, whether through quicker analysis of chest images or better identification of abnormalities.

“The industrial scale collaboration of the NHS, research and innovators on this project alone has demonstrated the huge potential and benefits of technology in transforming care.”

Dr Joe Jacob, consultant radiologist and research lead at BSTI, said:

“The National COVID-19 Chest Imaging Database was developed with the support and enthusiasm of chest radiologists and healthcare professionals from around the United Kingdom.

“Their efforts have helped to provide a resource that will help the NHS in the management of the healthcare emergency engendered by COVID-19.

“NHSX was able to quickly establish the project during the spring by working closely with Royal Surrey NHS Foundation Trust to scale up an existing data collection process.”

Dr Mark Halling-Brown, Head of Scientific Computing at Royal Surrey County Hospital, said:
“Royal Surrey NHS Foundation Trust has led the way in creating and sharing research imaging databases that have enabled the development of AI tools, and has more recently specialised in the evaluation and validation of AI radiology products within a range of specialties supporting their safe deployment into the clinic.

“Our expertise allowed us to help build the National COVID-19 Chest Imaging Database and we are excited by the potential of the AI solutions being developed and the research underway that will use this dataset.”

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