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Cervical cancer: Scottish hospital is first in UK to pilot artificial intelligence in screening programme

A Scottish hospital has become the first in the UK and one of the first in the world to pilot using artificial intelligence (AI) in its cervical cancer screening programme.

University Hospital Monklands has increased capacity by around 25% and improved analysis turn-around times with the measure, which experts said could “revolutionise” the screening process.

The system, from medical technology company Hologic, creates digital images of cervical smear slides from samples that have tested positive for Human Papilloma Virus (HPV).

These are then reviewed using an advanced algorithm, which quickly assesses the cells in the sample and highlights the most relevant to medical experts, saving them time in identifying and analysing abnormalities.

“Preliminary results from the pilot are promising, as the team at University Hospital Monklands has increased capacity by around 25 per cent in the slide assessment and improved analysis turn-around times, as well as allowing screeners to dedicate more time to training on the latest technologies and dealing with difficult-to-diagnose cases,” says Allan Wilson, consultant biomedical scientist at NHS Lanarkshire who is leading the pilot.

"Through AI and digital diagnostics, we have the potential to improve outcomes for women not only in Scotland, but around the world.”

Samantha Dixon, chief executive of Jo’s Cervical Cancer Trust, welcomed the pilot.

“Catching cervical cell changes means they can be treated to prevent them from developing into cervical cancer,” she said.

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Source: The Scotsman, 4 March 2022


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