Researchers at an Oxford hospital have developed an Artificial Intelligence (AI) system that can accurately diagnose heart and lung scans. The new AI could lead to more people being diagnosed earlier and prevent patients being sent home when they are still at risk of having a heart attack.
It’s though the system will save the NHS billions of pounds by enabling various diseases to be detected much earlier. The heart disease technology will be available to NHS hospitals for free this summer.
Currently, cardiologists use a person’s heartbeat to tell if there is a problem. However, even the most experienced doctors get it wrong in one in five cases. This leads to a patient being sent home when they are still at risk of a heart attack or undergoing an unnecessary operation.
The AI system can pick up details on the scans that doctors cannot see, resulting in a more accurate diagnosis.
So far, the system has been tested in clinical trials and the results aren’t expected to appear in a peer-reviewed journal until later this year. However, one of the system’s developers has said the data shows it greatly outperformed his fellow specialists.
The government's healthcare tsar, Sir John Bell, has indicated that AI could "save the NHS".
"There is about £2.2bn spent on pathology services in the NHS. You may be able to reduce that by 50%. AI may be the thing that saves the NHS," he said.