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NHS England lung cancer screening programme: a leading implementer of artificial intelligence

The NHS England Targeted Lung Health Check (TLHC) programme is the first large-scale lung cancer screening initiative substantially supported by artificial intelligence (AI). 19 checks have been rolled out so far, 15 of which are using lung nodule management solutions provided by Aidence, a healthtech front runner improving cancer care with AI.

Early lung cancer detection
Early detection is a great leap forward for treating Britain’s deadliest and most expensive cancer. A recent study found that screening with chest CTs catches 70% of lung cancers at an early stage when patients can be treated and potentially cured. The NHS England Targeted Lung Health Check programme offers low-dose CT scanning to eligible patients across the country. It aims to detect approximately 3,400 cancers and save hundreds of lives over four years. However, the 200,000 additional CT scans generated by the pilot must be reported by a radiology workforce already under strain.“Early detection can make a real difference to patients’ lives,” said Dr Oliver Byass, Clinical Director, Radiology at Hull University Teaching Hospitals NHS Trust (Hull UTH), one of the first sites involved in the TLHC to partner with Aidence. “However, we have to be wary of the pressures on our radiology teams.”

The AI solution for CT reporting
Aidence designed Veye Lung Nodules to relieve some of the pressure on radiologists. The AI solution automatically detects, measures, classifies and tracks the growth of pulmonary nodules on chest CTs. These are laborious and time-consuming tasks for clinicians when performed manually.  Veye Lung Nodules is CE certified under the new EU Medical Device Regulation and is currently analysing thousands of routine and screening scans per week across Europe.Dr Byass added: “Veye Lung Nodules comes at the right time for us. It makes reporting more efficient and allows appropriate nodule management and follow-up. This is just what our radiologists need.”  Veye Reporting, an interactive add-on to Veye Lung Nodule, prepopulates a report of the AI findings, following a standard template. It enables radiologists to follow the detailed and complex reporting protocols required by the lung health checks. From pilot to nationwide programme The results of the TLHC pilot will determine the scope of nationwide lung cancer screening. If successful, screening could become part of long-term public health programmes.

Mark-Jan Harte, CEO of Aidence, said: “The benefits of lung cancer screening are now proven. The UK is the first country in Europe to implement a screening initiative at scale, and we look forward to helping the NHS make it a resounding success.”Dr James Shambrook, Consultant Cardiothoracic Radiologist at University Hospital Southampton and Radiology Lead for the Southampton Targeted Lung Health Check, added: “Healthcare is changing and we want to drive this change by exploring the opportunities of AI solutions and being a part of their development. Scale and precision are of utmost importance for making the Lung Health Check programme a success, and we see Aidence as a valuable partner for the years to come.” To further support the screening projects, Aidence has teamed up with the British Society of Thoracic Imaging to facilitate lung nodule workshops.Background: AidenceAidence was founded in November 2015 by Mark-Jan Harte (CEO) and Jeroen van Duffelen (CBO). Based in the Netherlands and the UK, Aidence rallies over 50 data scientists, software engineers, medical, regulatory and business professionals to provide AI-based clinical applications for the oncology pathway.

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