Portsmouth Hospitals University NHS Trust is trialling artificial intelligence (AI) technology that could help detect lung cancer.

The Sectra Amplifier Service was set up by Sectra to make it easier for hospitals using its picture archiving and communication system (PACS) to trial, procure and deploy AI tech that links to imaging.

Through the service’s AI marketplace, Portsmouth Hospitals is assessing a deep learning algorithm that works on chest x-rays to identify lunch abnormalities that may otherwise have been hidden by rib bone structures.

It is hoped the algorithm will detect lung cancer from these x-rays and speed up diagnosis.

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 findings from the trial will be shared with Portsmouth partner hospitals across the SWASH imaging consortium. This includes Isle of Wight NHS Trust, Salisbury NHS Foundation Trust, Southern Health NHS Foundation Trust and University Hospital Southampton NHS Foundation Trust who all share a common PACS.

Gardner added: “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.”

Sectra’s Amplifier Service was conceived to help customers buy and adopt applications from AI vendors that have already been assessed for their compliance with technical and commercial requirements.

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.”

Sectra has recently signed a number of deals, including with two NHS trusts in the East of England, Homerton Healthcare NHS Foundation Trust and a digital pathology project in Northern Ireland.