The UK's public health service, the National Health Service is under continual pressure. This is due to several factors including budget cuts, an increase in the number of patients and a decrease in the number of qualified personnel to meet demand.
One potential solution to this problem could be artificial intelligence.
Scientists at King's College London have been looking at AI to bolster the existing workforce of trained medical personnel. One area that is being focused on is radiotherapy for cancer.
Currently, radiologists have very little time to work with their patients. According to some estimates they only have five seconds per image scan, per patient to try to spot and analyze a potential problem. It used to be 20 seconds. This 15-second discrepancy could mean that problems are missed.
A Fuller Picture
However, AI algorithms can be used to interpret data from medical devices and highlight areas that might be troublesome. So even though radiologists can't spend 20 seconds on an image, AI technology will help them understand what is going on.
"This is a huge opportunity to transform patient outcomes by applying the extraordinary capabilities of AI to ultimately make diagnoses earlier and more accurately than in the past," said Professor Sebastien Ourselin, head of the School of Biomedical Engineering and Imaging Sciences at Kings College London.
This AI and radiotherapy research has been made possible by a partnership between university scientists and Nvidia Corporation.
The promising research effort has an even bigger ambition. The hope is that teams may one day be able to utilize anonymized patient data from around the world to create an ever-evolving database so artificial intelligence programs can become even better at detecting cancers.