NHS Shared Business Services (NHS SBS) has formally launched its new procurement framework for artificial intelligence software to support decision making in treating strokes.
Named The Provision of AI Software in Neuroscience for Stroke Decision Making Support, it is said to be the only one of its kind in the UK specifically for the analysis of images for the detection of ischaemic or haemorrhagic strokes.
It has been developed with contributions from NHS England and Improvement (NHSEI), clinical leads from the 20 integrated stroke delivery networks across England, the Academic Health Science Network, NHSX and the Care Quality Commission.
It has previously been reported that the five companies on the four-year agreement are AI Doc, Behold AI, Brainomix, Ischemaview and Viz AI.
Darrien Bold, national digital and AI lead for stroke at NHSEI, said: “We are already seeing the impact AI decision support software is having on stroke pathways across the country, and the introduction of this framework will drive forward further progress in delivering best practice care where rapid assessment and treatment are of the essence.
“Over the past 18 months, the heath and care system has been compelled to look to new technologies to continue providing frontline care, and the stroke community has embraced new ways of working in times of unprecedented pressure. This framework agreement will be of great benefit as we implement the NOSIP, driving better outcomes, better patient experience and better patient safety, using new technology quickly, safely and innovatively.”
NHS SBS said the use of AI can reduce the decision making time for both thrombolysis and thrombectomy, increasing the numbers of patients eligible for both interventions and improving the likely benefit of treatment. It can provide interpretation of imaging within seconds, as opposed to up to 30 minutes when a manual review of the images is undertaken remotely by a reporting doctor.
The use of AI software is also an integral part of the National Optimal Stroke Imaging Pathway (NOSIP). Designed to guide the efficient use of radiology resources and reduce duplication, the NOSIP puts a patient’s rapid need of appropriate brain and vessel imaging acquisition and interpretation front and centre of the initial assessment when a stroke is suspected.
AI features prominently for use as decision support, rather than as a substitute for expert radiological interpretation.