AI software to be piloted for pregnancy screening

MedaPhor have announced the first pilot of its ScanNav real time image analysis software at the Foetal Medicine Department of St George’s University Hospitals NHS Trust.

ScanNav is believed to be the first CE marked AI system to carry out an automated, real time “peer review” of obstetric ultrasound images as someone is scanned. Monitoring performance by manually auditing images retrospectively is very time consuming, so ScanNav instead supports clinical staff by instantly confirming that the images they save conform to protocol, meaning additional images can be taken straight away if required. Initially targeted at the pregnancy screening programme, offered to all women at twenty weeks of pregnancy, ScanNav evaluates over fifty individual criteria to verify that the six views required by the NHS Foetal Anomaly Screening Programme are complete and fit for purpose. ScanNav uses deep learning technology to assess the same features that sonographers look for in ultrasound images. The system has “learnt” this using over three hundred and fifty thousand images that were assessed by a panel of senior sonographers. Initial validation studies have shown the AI system is as good as an expert colleague in providing peer review.

Katy Cook, Lead Sonographer in St George’s Hospital Foetal Medicine Department, said “Newly qualified sonographers, or those in training, may find this particularly helpful, giving confidence and enhancing skills to attain excellent imaging techniques. This AI software could also potentially automate the required auditing for obstetric scanning and demonstrate quality and competency for every sonographer in a busy clinical setting. This new way of assessing images looks very interesting and could have great potential.”

Nick Sleep, Chief Technology Officer of MedaPhor, said “We are very grateful to Katy Cook and her team at St George’s for their feedback during this pilot. Understanding how ScanNav is utilised by expert sonographers in a clinical environment is helping us to better determine how our proposed range of ScanNav products will fit into the workflow of a busy fetal medicine department and support sonographers and doctors in ultrasound scanning.”

Stuart Gall, MedaPhor’s chief executive, told Insider Media “In 12 to 15 months, we will be a dramatically different company to the one we are now, and in an exciting space…We have moved from being a simulation company to a software and simulation company with a range of products that can unlock the potential of ultrasound…There is massive potential in China. They are expanding rapidly, and there is a push to raise standards nationally.”

Cenkos, the broker, forecasts that MedaPhor’s sales will rise by about 58% to £6.5m this year. That’s before any substantial additional contribution from the new markets that ScanNav image analysis software, first developed by Intelligent Ultrasound, could bring.

This article has been updated on February 15th 2018 to correctly name one of the sources as Insider Media.

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