Drones could be set to support the UK healthcare industry
With drones increasingly transitioning from military technology to an in-demand, commercial product, local UK authorities have been tasked with sourcing how drones can positively impact everyday civilian life. It echoes Zipline’s work in Africa in the delivery of blood and vital medication to rural areas, and regions of difficult terrain.
The Telegraph has recently reported that healthcare is one area of increased interest for the UK. With growing populations creating increased congestion on roads and public services, there are concerns that life-saving medical supplies could no longer reach destinations in a timely manner, impacting on overall patient care.
Drones could therefore provide a complete solution, by taking to the skies and delivering essential medical supplies to support emergency services going forward.
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However, a new safety bill is thought to be implemented by early 2018 surrounding the ongoing regulation and maintenance surrounding the technology. With over a thousand ‘near misses’ with pilots in the last year, a draft drone bill will give local authorities and public services greater power surrounding the use of drones, and seize any thought to be part of criminal activity.
"Police forces are aware of the ever-increasing use of drones by members of the public and we are working with all relevant partners to understand the threats that this new technology can pose when used irresponsibly or illegally,” explained National Police Chief Council lead for criminal misuse of drones, Assistant Chief Constable Serena Kennedy.
Additionally, users will also have to undertake safety awareness tests to ensure they remain aware of the risks of utilising the technology
Skin Analytics wins NHSX award for AI skin cancer tool
An artificial intelligence-driven tool that identifies skin cancers has received an award from NHSX, the NHS England and Department of Health and Social Care's initiative to bring technology into the UK's national health system.
NHSX has granted the Artificial Intelligence in Health and Care Award to DERM, an AI solution that can identify 11 types of skin lesion.
Developed by Skin Analytics, DERM analyses images of skin lesions using algorithms. Within primary care, Skin Analytics will be used as an additional tool to help doctors with their decision making.
In secondary care, it enables AI telehealth hubs to support dermatologists with triage, directing patients to the right next step. This will help speed up diagnosis, and patients with benign skin lesions can be identified earlier, redirecting them away from dermatology departments that are at full capacity due to the COVID-19 backlog.
Cancer Research has called the impact of the pandemic on cancer services "devastating", with a 42% drop in the number of people starting cancer treatment after screening.
DERM is already in use at University Hospitals Birmingham and Mid and South Essex Health & Care Partnership, where it has led to a significant reduction in unnecessary referrals to hospital.
Now NHSX have granted it the Phase 4 AI in Health and Care Award, making DERM available to clinicians across the country. Overall this award makes £140 million available over four years to accelerate the use of artificial intelligence technologies which meet the aims of the NHS Long Term Plan.
Dr Lucy Thomas, Consultant Dermatologist at Chelsea & Westminster Hospital, said: “Skin Analytics’ receipt of this award is great news for the NHS and dermatology departments. It will allow us to gather real-world data to demonstrate the benefits of AI on patient pathways and workforce challenges.
"Like many services, dermatology has severe backlogs due to the COVID-19 pandemic. This award couldn't have come at a better time to aid recovery and give us more time with the patients most in need of our help.”