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The systems will save billions of pounds by enabling the diseases to be picked up much earlier. The heart disease technology will start to be available to NHS hospitals for free this summer. The government’s healthcare tsar, Sir John Bell, has told BBC News that AI could “save the NHS”.

“There is about £2.2bn spent on pathology services in the NHS. You may be able to reduce that by 50%. AI may be the thing that saves the NHS,” he said.

Currently cardiologists can tell from the timing of the heartbeat in scans if there is a problem. But even the best doctors get it wrong in one in five cases. Patients are either sent home and have a heart attack or they undergo an unnecessary operation.

An artificial intelligence system developed at the John Radcliffe Hospital diagnoses heart scans much more accurately. It can pick up details in the scans that doctors can’t see. It then gives a recommendation – positive – which means that it believes that there is a risk of the patient having a heart attack. The system has been tested in clinical trials in six cardiology units. The results are due to be published this year in a peer-reviewed journal after they have been checked by experts, but Prof Paul Leeson, a cardiologist who developed the system, says that the data indicates that the system has greatly outperformed his fellow heart specialists.

If confirmed, it will be available for free to NHS hospitals across the country.

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Original Article: http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/health-42357257

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