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10 Nov 2021 Point, Click, Notify Artificial Intelligence in Dermatology Project

Did you know that cancer is one of the two biggest causes of premature death in Wales and globally, skin cancer is the most common cancer in the world?

Early detection and access to medical advice is linked to earlier diagnosis and improved clinical outcomes.

ARCH have collaborated with Swansea Bay Dermatologists, Medical Illustrations, and Meridian IT UK to develop an Artificial Intelligence classifier that can help identify skin lesions, supports patients to take a self-management approach to their skin, aids earlier detection of skins cancer and prompts users to seek medical advice.

The proof of concept application is being developed with Swansea Bay University Health Board Medical Photography and Dermatology Teams along with our industry partner, Meridian IT UK, and utilises artificial intelligence (AI) to make its judgement.  The ultimate aim is for the application to be available through a mobile phone and utilising its camera, it can advise whether you should seek medical support or not.  The project is currently in its early stages of development.

The partnership came about in December 2019 when ARCH and Meridian IT UK pitched the idea of the application at the Wales Cancer Network, Cancer Innovation Challenge.  The pitch proved successful in a winning seed funding grant to develop the proof of concept application.

This project is one of a few ground breaking Welsh projects where the NHS and industry share the risk and rewards of AI development, where each organisation contributes significant resources to development in addition to the grant funding from central funding.

The AI model uses object recognition software that has been ‘trained’ using a data set of over 5000 images of a range of different skin lesions to identify and classify images  The AI’s performance model was checked by Swansea Bay Consultant Dermatologists to ensure accuracy and confidence.

In practice, the user would access the application by taking a photo of their skin lesion on their mobile phone, the application will assess the image and notify the user whether to seek medical advice or not.

Proof of concept for the application was completed in September 2021. Various iterations of the model were created until a final model was developed which closely matched the clinician’s decision making process and gave the most clinical confidence. Further work is needed but there are strong grounds for taking the model forwards.  Further refinement and development will be explored through phase 2 to ensure greater accuracy and confidence before testing the public. Phase 2 is expected to start in December 2021.

 

Industry partners Meridian IT UK

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