Artificial intelligence is being used to transform radiology services at NHS Greater Glasgow and Clyde (NHSGCC) with the support of the West of Scotland Innovation Hub and iCAIRD.

A team of experts have trained computer programmes to assess x-rays and report if there are any abnormalities.

“We’ve seen already that globally artificial intelligence in radiology can reduce wait times for patients, improve accuracy, and reduce pressure on staff.” Dr Mark Hall, Radiology Consultant, NHSGGC said.

“There is a misconception by the public that using artificial intelligence in healthcare means there is less contact with doctors – the opposite is true. Using machines to speed up some of our simpler work means there is more time for direct patient care and the complex cases.”

The first stage of the project with NHSGGC’s radiology services saw radiologists effectively teaching the artificial intelligence which x-rays are abnormal and which ones are healthy.

Early results found by NHSGGC and industrial partner Bering show the tool is 98% accurate. NHSGGC’s Safe Haven team helped create the dataset and have been involved validating the project’s data.

The project has been supported by the West of Scotland Innovation Hub, hosted by NHSGGC, which brings together NHS clinicians, ehealth and research and innovation staff to facilitate service redesign and transform patient care.

Mark’s team has used the power of iCAIRD, Scotland’s Industrial Centre for Artificial Intelligence Research in Digital Diagnostics.

iCAIRD provides super computing capabilities and using Canon’s Safe Haven Artificial Intelligence Platform, processes hundreds of thousands of images, such as x-rays, in a matter of days. The programme removes all patient details in a secure environment which protects patient confidentiality.

JD Blackwood, iCAIRD’s programme manager, says the platform for machine learning means that researchers are not constrained by technology.

“We provide a platform that accelerates innovation in healthcare. We cut the time it takes to train artificial intelligence models from years, to months or weeks.  It means innovators can now focus on the important job of putting tools into the hands of clinicians and patients, to improve health outcomes.”

iCAIRD is the only centre in Scotland with this kind of capability.

Dr David Lowe, clinical lead for the iCAIRD Work Programme and Joint Clinical Lead, West of Scotland Innovation Hub, commented: “This project has shown the importance of collaboration between clinicians, industry and our partners. We have utilised the expertise of NHS clinicians and applied artificial intelligence to make innovative changes to radiology. We continue to apply these lessons to other projects and develop solutions to embed AI in clinical practice.”