New AI diagnostic software framework to support stroke treatment

NHS shared business services today announced the first-of-its-kind procurement AI diagnostic software framework, which is designed specifically for the analysis of images and the detection of ischaemic or haemorrhagic strokes and will help to reduce the long-term side effects associated with strokes.

‘The Provision of AI Software in Neuroscience for Stroke Decision Making Support’ framework hopes to remove barriers buyers may face as well as create a simple compliant commercial solution.

The framework was developed with contributions from NHS England and NHS Improvement as well as clinical leads from the Integrated Stroke Delivery Networks around England, the Academic Health Science Network, NHSX and CQC.

As part of the NHS  Long Term Plan, services have aimed to improve services for stroke patients and overall outcome by 2022.

AI interpretation of CT and MRI scans have proven to be a life-changing development and have helped to decrease the time taken to treat those who have had stroke. Technology like this will be expanded through the new framework.

Adam Nickerson, NHS SBS Senior Category Manager – Digital & IT, said: “This use of AI is a prime example of how new technologies have the potential to transform NHS patient care, speeding up diagnosis and treatment times by ensuring that expert clinical resource is targeted where it has the greatest impact for the patient. By identifying areas in which technology can be used to help speed up patient pathways, clinicians have more time for providing personalised care and patient waiting lists – exacerbated by the pandemic, are reduced.

“We have been pleased to work alongside some of the country’s leading tech minds, expert stroke clinicians, and policy leaders to develop this unique framework, which will go a long way to enabling more rapid uptake of Stroke AI software across the NHS.

“The suppliers on our framework agreement are working right at the cutting edge of healthcare. Their work is already improving and saving the lives of patients who – as a result of this digital healthcare technology – are given access to the right treatment more quickly. 

“We look forward to seeing how the technology evolves and the potential for equally life-saving solutions for patients with other medical conditions.”

The new framework will allow better access to thrombolytic and thrombectomy therapy in England by supporting trusts and networks, allowing them to deliver the best patient pathway for those who have suffered a stroke.

Darrien Bold, National Digital and AI Lead for Stroke, NHSEI, said: “We are already seeing the impact AI decision-support software is having on stroke pathways across the country, and the introduction of this framework will drive forward further progress in delivering best-practice care where rapid assessment and treatment are of the essence.

“Over the past 18 months, the heath and care system has been compelled to look to new technologies to continue providing frontline care, and the stroke community has embraced new ways of working in times of unprecedented pressure. This framework agreement will be of great benefit as we implement the NOSIP - driving better outcomes, better patient experience and better patient safety, using new technology quickly, safely, and innovatively.”

The framework will run for two years until the 17th February 2024 with potential for a further two year extension taking it up to 2026.

More information on the framework as well as the suppliers involved can be found here.

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