Faster diagnosis using Artificial Intelligence

New research into faster diagnosis of lung disease

NUH is one of seven hospitals in England to begin research trials into an artificial intelligence system which could speed up the diagnosis of lung cancer.

The system works by spotting X-rays with suspicious lung nodules within minutes so that patients can have a more detailed CT scan for a more accurate diagnosis.

It will run until June 2023 after which it is hoped that the system, developed by the Indian AI company, can start to be introduced more widely across the health service.

Professor David Baldwin, Chair of NHS England’s Clinical Expert Group for Lung Cancer and a respiratory consulktant at NUH, who is leading the trial, said: “Speed of diagnosis is critical to achieve the best outcomes in lung cancer and to reduce stress and worry for patients.”

Frequently Asked Questions

Why this research is taking place

  • What is the purpose of the study? To see if we can reduce the time taken for diagnosis and reporting of abnormalities on a chest X-ray with the assistance of AI.

How the research will be delivered

  • Will this affect me or my care? You will receive the usual care pathway during and following your Chest X-ray. This means a report on the X-ray will be sent to the professional who asked for it and sometimes additional tests may be organised for you.
  • How will the results of the study be used? If the results show that using this software leads to a quicker diagnosis of cancer, it will be recommended to policymakers for use in all UK hospitals. The study results will be published and distributed through scientific and medical conferences, but your information will be confidential.
  • Will my information be kept confidential and secured within the NHS? Yes. Your reports will only be reviewed by your GP and your Clinical Care team. In compliance with NHS Data Privacy Standards, we will maintain strict levels of confidentiality. The data collected about all patients involved in the research will be anonymised, so that your personal information will not be shared with anyone outside of your clinical team.  
  • Who is organising and funding the research? It is funded by NHS England and the Small Business Research Initiative (SBRI) group.

About the technology

  • What is AI? Artificial intelligence (AI) is the simulation of human intelligence by machines, usually computers. The AI used in this study is a type of ‘machine learning’ technique that reads Chest X-rays and alerts clinicians to a possible abnormality and may lead to faster diagnosis.
  • What is AI being used for? How does AI interpret signs of condition from a chest X-Ray? AI is being used to support clinicians in faster diagnosis by working as an additional screening tool. The AI has been trained to review the Chest X-ray and identify any abnormalities that could be serious and require a further test such as a scan to be done as soon as possible.
  • Are there any benefits of having my scan interpreted by AI in addition to a radiologist? AI software acts as a second pair of eyes in relooking at the image for additional safety for such cases. AI can also lead to faster progress for other tests that may be needed.
  • Is this system already used in NHS? Yes. After passing regulatory requirements, this system is being used in a number of NHS hospitals inlcuding NHS.