An AI platform that can predict heart disease will be implemented in NHS hospitals as part of a UK government policy to drive-up the use of innovative new technologies throughout the health service.
The EchoGo platform uses machine learning algorithms to analyse ultrasound scans of the heart, enabling doctors to diagnose heart disease more efficiently and potentially prevent heart attacks.
Developed by Oxford-based cardiac health-tech company Ultromics, the solution was announced as one of the winners of an AI in Health and Care Award and will receive a share of funding totalling over £50m.
Dr Ross Upton, co-founder and CEO of Ultromics, said: “AI can both help protect and transform the NHS. Post Covid-19, it has become even more evident that the NHS needs to find new ways of working.
“This initiative embraces the potential offered by AI to ease current difficulties in healthcare delivery with more accurate and faster diagnosis, and to significantly improve patient care and outcomes.”
The NHS will test 42 technologies in four phases of development, with EchoGo selected in phases three and four, which focus on technologies closest to market roll-out and scaling-up for full adoption by health care providers.
Sir Simon Stevens, NHS chief executive, said: “The NHS has and always will rely first and foremost on the clinical expertise of our staff, but the innovations we’re funding today have the potential to save lives by improving screening, cancer treatment and stroke care for NHS patients across the country.
“We’re still in the early stages of AI, but when the latest chapter in the history of medicine comes to be written, AI in health care will doubtless rank alongside earlier advances such as the stethoscope, the X-ray and the blood test.”