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£36 million goes to 38 AI in healthcare projects


Mark Say Managing Editor


Health and Social Care Secretary Matt Hancock has announced the allocation of £36 million to 38 projects to explore the use of artificial intelligence in healthcare.

Stethoscope against medical interface

They are the winners of the second wave of funding under the NHS AI Lab’s AI in Health and Care Award programme, and will receive backing from NHSX and the Accelerated Access Collaborative (AAC).

The programme is aimed at accelerating the testing and evaluation of AI in the NHS so patients can benefit from faster and more personalised diagnosis and greater efficiency in screening services.

Among the projects to receive funding are: the use of an algorithm from BeholdAI that can identify suspected lung cancer in chest x-rays; the Paige Prostate cancer detection tool to help pathologists spot cancers in digital images; Zebra Medica’s Bone Health Solutions tool to analyse existing CT scans to look for previously undiagnosed spinal fractures; and the Wysa AI powered chatbot app to support patients in managing their mental health.

Full details of the winners are available on the programme’s web pages.

Trailblazing approach

Hancock said: “The 38 projects we are backing reflect the UK’s trailblazing approach to innovation in the healthcare sector and could help us take a leap forward in the quality of care and the speed of disease diagnoses and treatment in the NHS.

“Confronted with this global pandemic, our tech sector has risen to the challenge and upended how we do things through innovations to support people to test from home, complete remote consultations and diagnose issues safely.”

The projects receiving support have been chosen from 336 applications following a process of longlisting, diligence checks, clinical and peer reviews, and interviews.

The AI in Health and Care Award is scheduled to distribute £140 million over three years, with the next round of applications set to open later this month.

Image from iStock, peshkov

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