Pilot of ultrasound AI software for pregnancy screening

ScanNav real-time image analysis software to be piloted by St George’s, London

MedaPhor Group plc (AIM: MED), the intelligent ultrasound software and simulation company, announces the first pilot of its ScanNav real-time image analysis software at the Fetal Medicine Department of St George’s University Hospitals NHS Trust, London, U.K.

ScanNav is believed to be the first CE marked artificial intelligence (AI) system to carry out an automated, real-time “peer review” of obstetric ultrasound images as the patient is scanned.

Monitoring performance by manually auditing images retrospectively is very time consuming, so ScanNav instead supports clinical staff by instantly confirming that the images they save conform to protocol, meaning additional images can be taken straight away if required.

Initially targeted at the U.K. pregnancy screening programme (offered to all women at 20 weeks of pregnancy), ScanNav evaluates over 50 individual criteria to verify that the six views required by the NHS Fetal Anomaly Screening Programme are complete and fit for purpose.

ScanNav uses deep learning technology to assess the same features that sonographers look for in ultrasound images. The system has “learnt” this using over 350,000 images that were assessed by a panel of senior sonographers. Initial validation studies have shown the AI system is as good as an expert colleague in providing peer review.

Commenting on their interest in ScanNav, Katy Cook, Lead Sonographer in St George’s Hospital Fetal Medicine Department, said: “Newly qualified sonographers, or those in training, may find this particularly helpful, giving confidence and enhancing skills to attain excellent imaging techniques. This AI software could also potentially automate the required auditing for obstetric scanning and demonstrate quality and competency for every sonographer in a busy clinical setting. This new way of assessing images looks very interesting and could have great potential.”

Commenting on the evaluation, Nick Sleep, Chief Technology Officer of MedaPhor, said: “We are very grateful to Katy Cook and her team at St George’s for their feedback during this pilot. Understanding how ScanNav is utilised by expert sonographers in a clinical environment is helping us to better determine how our proposed range of ScanNav products will fit into the workflow of a busy fetal medicine department and support sonographers and doctors in ultrasound scanning.”