Portsmouth hospital accelerates AI programme through Sectra Amplifier Service

Healthcare professionals at Portsmouth Hospitals University NHS Trust are trialling an AI application designed to help detect lung cancers on chest x-rays sooner, in the first UK project set up using the Sectra Amplifier Service.

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The service, including a marketplace for AI, was created by medical imaging technology provider Sectra to make it easier for hospitals using its picture archiving and communication system to quickly trial, procure and deploy AI relating to radiology, breast and pathology imaging.

The trust is now assessing a deep learning algorithm, available through Sectra’s marketplace, that is designed to help healthcare professionals more easily identify lung abnormalities on chest x-rays, that might otherwise be hidden by rib bone structures.

Mark Gardner, PACS manager for Portsmouth Hospitals NHS Trust, said: “This has given us the ability to introduce AI into the clinical setting easily. Other than asking Sectra to set up the trial, I didn’t need to do anything – the application just became available in the PACS. This has saved significant resources and months of work that would have been involved in IT preparation and setting up local infrastructure and server requirements – all of which has been avoided.

“The AI market has become saturated – I am contacted by all sorts of companies providing solutions. As we develop our AI strategy, and explore where AI can best be of assistance, the Sectra Amplifier Service will be invaluable in cutting down on time and effort and ensuring interoperability with our PACS. This is my go-to place, which we are already using to find other applications. And it means our SWASH partners can also quickly deploy and trial AI applications, from which we can learn.”

Findings from Portsmouth will also be shared with partner hospitals across the SWASH imaging consortium, a group of NHS trusts in the region that share a common PACS. Trusts in the consortium include Isle of Wight NHS Trust, Salisbury NHS Foundation Trust, Southern Health NHS Foundation Trust and University Hospital Southampton NHS Foundation Trust.

Gillian Simmons, a radiographer advanced practitioner at the Queen Alexandra Hospital Portsmouth, said: “The process for setting up this trial has been absolutely brilliant. Our evaluation will examine the effectiveness of the application in helping us to deliver diagnoses and care for our patients.”

Sectra launched its service to help customers buy and adopt applications from AI vendors that have already been assessed by Sectra for compliance with technical and commercial requirements, before they are placed on the marketplace.

Jane Rendall, UK and Ireland managing director for Sectra, said: “AI has the potential to transform diagnostics for patients. But for real progress to be made in adoption, healthcare professionals need confidence in the technology that can support them, and healthcare organisations need to be able to implement systems without the need to invest resources that they cannot afford to spare. It is rewarding to see these challenges being addressed at Portsmouth Hospitals NHS Trust, and I hope that other customers across the UK also soon begin to realise benefits from the Sectra Amplifier Service.”

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