An NHS trust in the south-east has rolled out an AI tool which allows doctors to view patient scans remotely on an app.

As the coronavirus pandemic set in, Royal Berkshire NHS Foundation Trust fast-tracked the use of the technology so it could make faster and better decisions about treatment for stroke patients.

The AI tool allows hospital staff to share scans quickly with on call stroke physicians so they can advise the teams on the best course of treatment, without a delay that could impact on the patient’s outcomes.

The app uses AI to help read and interpret the scans, enabling doctors to make better and informed decisions about the right course of treatment for each patient.

Dr Kiruba Nagaratnam, consultant stroke physician and geriatrician, and clinical lead for stroke medicine at the trust, said: “This work has revolutionised the way we traditionally reviewed scans and made treatment decisions when we are on call.

“It has also bypassed the ED physician and radiologist involvement, particularly on weekends. We have already used this to refer patients for life changing thrombectomy surgery on weekends with decisions made remotely.”

Since the beginning of March, Royal Berkshire has processed more than 150 scans using the AI system, helping many patients get faster treatment.

NHS chief executive, Simon Stevens, added: “If you or a loved one are experiencing the symptoms of a stroke or another killer condition you should seek help as you always would – NHS staff have worked hard to ensure you can get it safely.

“The virus will be with us for some time and that means hospitals will be treating thousands of patients, but at the same time it is great to see cutting edge technologies like AI scans being brought in despite the coronavirus pandemic, to help speed up brain imaging and ensure quicker access to life saving treatment.”