Optellum recognised by the NHS and Health Education England and included as one of two case studies in AI Roadmap report

Optellum is referenced within the report with recommendations on how AI will be implemented and physicians trained in new technologies across the NHS

Optellum has been named as one of two case studies within the NHS Health Education England (HEE) AI Roadmap report. The priorities for HEE when choosing the case studies were to ensure that the solutions had been used or tested in the NHS and that different clinical pathways, workforce groups and point of care were represented.

In September 2021, the UK government set out a National AI Strategy which builds on the UK’s strengths but also represents the start of a step-change for AI in the UK, recognising the power of AI to increase resilience, productivity, growth and innovation across the private and public sectors including in healthcare.

The report commissioned by HEE reviews the preparedness of the NHS for the implementation of new AI technologies and the impact these technologies will have on workforce, the patient pathway and wider system performance. The report and its accompanying dashboard will allow the NHS to understand existing technologies, the groups that they sit within, their spread and adoption and ultimately the potential impact of these technologies across the workforce.

Currently, across the UK, lung cancer has the highest mortality rate of all cancers, with over 35,000 people year on year passing away from the disease. Earlier diagnosis of lung cancer has become a key focus for the NHS, with the ambition of diagnosing three in four cancers at stage 1 or 2. Currently, late-stage diagnosis of the disease is most common, with GPs often missing early warning signs despite repeated visits from patients. The current five-year survival rate for lung cancer is only 20%, primarily due to the majority of patients being diagnosed after symptoms have appeared and the disease has progressed to an advanced stage. The survival rate for small tumours treated at Stage IA is up to 90%, a disparity which highlights a critical need for diagnosis and treatment at the earliest stage possible.

Report findings highlighted learnings from the deployment of AI in the NHS Lung Cancer Screening Programme – with early-stage piloting and trials currently in place across several NHS Trusts – and potential impact on earlier diagnosis rates at a stage where treatment is more likely to be successful. Optellum is the lead industrial partner for the UK’s DART [Data Using Artificial Intelligence to Improve Patient Outcomes with Thoracic Diseases] programme, working with NHS England’s Targeted Lung Health Check programme which will provide lung cancer screening to approximately 600,000 eligible people.

Optellum’s Virtual Nodule Clinic is an AI-powered clinical decision support software, which gives clinicians support in identifying and tracking at-risk patients who present suspicious lung nodules which may or may not be cancerous. It integrates a clinically-validated Lung Cancer Prediction (LCP) score based on imaging AI and has the potential to improve clinical care coordination and decisions, with the aim to get patients treated before the disease has metastasized – crucially increasing lung cancer survival rates.

Jason Pesterfield, President, CEO at Optellum, said:

“Inclusion of Optellum within this report reinforces the hard work and close relationships we have built within the NHS. Early-stage lung cancer can be difficult to diagnose as it shows up on scans as small pulmonary nodules, making them tricky to classify and confirm whether they are benign or requiring treatment. Use of the Virtual Nodule Clinic is shown to improve diagnostic accuracy, clinical decision-making and consistency among physicians. To have been included in this report is a significant milestone for Optellum and recognition that we are helping to spearhead the use of AI technology within the NHS to better the system and improve patient outcomes.”

In March 2021 Optellum received FDA 510(k) clearance for its Virtual Nodule Clinic, the first of its kind to be cleared. Since then, Optellum has partnered strategically with GE Healthcare and the Lung Cancer Initiative at Johnson & Johnson. Optellum is currently seeking CE marking to support further roll out of the Virtual Nodule Clinic within NHS Trusts.

To read more on the AI Roadmap for the NHS, you can download the full report here.