Tens of thousands of stroke patients across the country are benefitting from quicker treatment and improved outcomes thanks to government investment in cutting-edge artificial intelligence (AI) to diagnose and determine the best treatment for patients who suffer a stroke.
Early-stage analysis of the technology, which received funding from the first round of the government's AI in Health and Care Awards, shows it can reduce the time between presenting with a stroke and treatment by more than 60 minutes, and is associated with a tripling in the number of stroke patients recovering with no or only slight disability - defined as achieving functional independence - from 16 percent to 48 percent.
Trailblazing AI technologies are revolutionizing the health and care system making it fit for the future. These ground-breaking diagnosis and treatment tools are not only helping improve patient outcomes, but freeing up valuable clinician time, supporting hard working NHS staff who are working tirelessly to tackle the Covid backlogs.
Health and Social Care Secretary Steve Barclay said:
AI has the potential to transform our NHS - delivering faster, more accurate diagnoses and making sure patients can get the treatment they need, when they need it.
Brainomix is an incredible example of how this can be achieved, using the power of AI to shave lifesaving minutes off one of the most time-sensitive diagnoses in medicine meaning patients get the treatment they need faster.
I am immensely proud the AI Awards continues to harness this innovation, empowering researchers across the country to deliver ground breaking new technologies which will transform our health and care system."
NHS England Director of Transformation Dr Timothy Ferris said:
Every minute saved during the initial hospital assessment of people with stroke-like symptoms can dramatically improve a patient's chance of leaving hospital in good health.
The NHS is harnessing the potential that AI has to support expert staff in delivering life-changing care for patients with a range of needs, and through the AI in Health and Care awards we are testing, evaluating and supporting the most promising technologies which could transform the way we deliver care."
Strokes affects 85,000 people in England every year and getting into hospital and starting the right treatment quickly is key for making a good recovery.
The Brainomix e-Stroke system, developed in the UK, uses state-of-the-art AI algorithms to support doctors by providing real-time decision support in the interpretation of brain scans which help inform decisions for stroke patients, allowing more patients to get the right treatment, in the right place, at the right time.
The e-Stroke technology allows stroke specialists to access scans and images remotely and securely meaning they can do their job efficiently whilst supporting other hospitals deliver world leading stroke care. This supports clinicians working across Integrated Stroke Delivery Networks (ISDN), which bring together specialists from all parts of the stroke pathway to ensure more people who experience a stroke receive high-quality specialist care, from pre-hospital, through to early supported discharge, community specialist stroke-skilled rehabilitation and life after stroke.
Brainomix e-Stroke is currently deployed at sites spanning 11 stroke networks across the country, of which five have been funded through the AI in Health and Care Award. This funding has supported the detection of over 4,500 large vessel occlusions (LVO's) in stroke patients. LVOs are one of the most time-sensitive diagnoses in medicine and early diagnosis can lead to better patient outcomes.
Teaching assistant and grandmother Carol Wilson was getting up for a normal day when she suffered from intense cramp and rapidly lost sight and use of her limbs in June 2021. She was transferred to hospital where, with the help of the Brainomix e-Stroke tool her consultant was able to rapidly diagnose a blood clot on her brain and recommend a thrombectomy. Thanks to the quick diagnosis and access to treatment, Carol has now recovered and is back at work and able to live her life as she was before the stroke.
This technology is just amazing. I was able to sit up and text my family later that day, and was back at home and able to walk around two days after having a stroke.
I often think about how lucky I am to have made the recovery I have - to be able to go back to work and spend time with my grandchildren - especially when you consider not everyone who has a stroke has such a good outcome."
Riaz Rahman, VP Healthcare Global, Brainomix, said:
The Brainomix e-Stroke platform has fast become a cornerstone of integrated stroke delivery networks (ISDN's) ability to deliver best in class stroke care. We have collated multiple examples of hard evidence, spanning several networks, confirming the use of e-Stroke helps deliver more consistent treatment decisions and faster patient transfers. This is vitally important in a highly time sensitive pathway.
Having successfully deployed the system at pace and scale across the NHS, we have seen in some regions the tripling of post-operative patient functional scores and more than double the access to life saving mechanical thrombectomy treatment."
The AI in Health and Care Award, backed by £123 million, is run by the NIHR, Accelerated Access Collaboration at NHS England and the NHS AI Lab, and supports accelerating the testing and evaluation of cutting-edge technologies which have the potential for greatest patient and clinician benefit, improving patient outcomes and freeing up valuable clinician time.
The Award supports AI technologies across a range of developments, from initial feasibility to the point that they could be nationally commissioned.