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3D imaging and machine learning to improve dermatology referral services in the NHS
How a 3D scanning company is collaborating with the NHS for innovative solutions.
By: Cad-scan, SBRI, NHS Scotland, Innovate UK
Skin conditions are the most frequent reason for people to consult their GP with 54% of the UK population experiencing a skin condition in a given 12 month period costing the NHS in England and Wales £1.8b in 2005/6. The number of referrals to specialist care, particularly for diagnosis, is rising. Over the 5 years from 2007/8, there was a 15.5% increase in GP referrals for dermatology. Estimates indicate over 4,000 deaths each year in Scotland are due to a related skin disease, while other conditions such as eczema and psoriasis often have a long term negative impact on an individual's quality of life.
This places increasing demand on NHS Scotland healthcare services, resulting in over 283,000 dermatology outpatient appointments needed every year, with 41% of these being first time appointments. Diagnosis of skin conditions in primary care was highlighted by the KIng's fund as a serious area of weakness that results in multiple GP visits and different treatments being tried before an accurate diagnosis is obtained.
Dr Alastair Buchanan, Cadscan's managing director said "the project is a great opportunity for Cadscan to show how low-cost technology can be used to improve the primary to secondary referral process. We are developing DermRef, a user centred system that employs 3D imaging and machine learning to provide expert advice about skin lesions to GP's. The aim is to improve initial diagnosis, reducing referrals, unnecessary outpatient appointments and enabling specialist assessments without the patient needing to be present.
Cadscan uses 3D technology to develop solutions for a range of healthcare, robotics and engineering applications. Based in Chester, UK, the company was founded in 2011.
The Small Business Research Initiative (SBRI) is a well established process to connect public sector challenges with innovative ideas from industry, supporting companies to generate economic growth and enabling improvement in achieving government objectives.
SBRI provides innovative solutions to challenges faced by the public sector, leading to better public services and improved efficiency and effectiveness. It generates new business opportunities for companies, provides small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) a route to market for their ideas and bridges the seed funding gap experienced by many early stage companies. It supports economic growth and enables the development of innovative products and services through the public procurement of research and development (R&D). For further information visit: https://www.gov.uk/
About NHS Scotland
NHS Scotland consists of 14 regional Health Boards which are responsible for the delivery of frontline healthcare services and for the protection and improvement of their population's health and 7 special Health Boards and one public health body (Healthcare Improvement Scotland) which support the regional boards by providing a range of important specialist and national services.
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