Skin Analytics is to roll out its AI DERM technology to a further four NHS trusts, after it received funding from NHS England, with funding already available for a further five trusts to ramp up access to dermatology for patients.

Manchester University NHS Foundation Trust, Liverpool University Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust, University Hospitals Dorset NHS Foundation Trust and Dorset County Hospital NHS Foundation Trust are the first to benefit from £2m in funding from the NHS England Cancer Programme. The funding was awarded to DERM creator Skin Analytics in November 2023.

Tom Berry, divisional director – medicine and outpatients, Manchester University NHS Foundation Trust said: “The deployment provides a real opportunity for us to innovate the way we provide care for patients referred into our dermatology service with suspected skin cancer. Dermatology services are under pressure across the NHS in England, particularly with increased referral trends for suspected skin cancer.

“We expect DERM will help us to maximise the capacity of our specialist consultant dermatologist workforce, which will support the team to see and treat patients in an efficient and timely way across both cancer and non-cancer pathways. The implementation of this approach from February 2024 will also support the service to embed the new process ahead of the expected seasonal increase in demand for skin cancer pathways.”

A further five trusts will be announced in the coming weeks and months as contracts are signed, with the funding ensuring that in total nine additional trusts can be using the AI device by the summer.

The DERM device is already being used in 12 NHS trusts and primary care providers. University Hospitals Birmingham NHS Foundation Trust, West Suffolk NHS Foundation Trust, University Hospitals of Leicester NHS Trust, Chelsea and Westminster Hospital NHS Foundation Trust and Ashford and St Peters NHS Foundation Trust have all deployed the tool over the last four years.

The pathways it is already used in have seen more than 81,000 patients and it has identified more than 8,500 cancers. The device is trained to classify 11 different lesion types, including the most common malignant, pre-malignant and benign. The Skin Analytics tool analyses images of skin lesions to rule out and detect cancers at an early stage, allowing for early diagnosis or discharge.

The latest roll-out of the device will see it reach around 45,000 more patients, who will gain access to the AI tool by the summer – when skin cancer referrals are at their highest. Trusts that deploy the device will be able to tackle their backlogs and free up outpatient delays, while also helping to prioritise skin cancer patients boosting their access to potentially life-saving treatment.

Neil Daly, CEO of Skin Analytics, said: “DERM not only helps detect and assess potential cases of skin cancer but also eases pressure on routine patients seeking dermatology services. If successful, and we are confident it will be, we hope this roll out could pave the way for wider adoption across all NHS trusts in England, creating a standardised and efficient dermatology pathway.”

Last summer Skin Analytics also gained NHS funding to open three new skin cancer pathways, accessible via community hubs at Suffolk and North East Essex Integrated Care Board (ICB), Hereford and Worcester ICB and Lancashire and South Cumbria ICB.