Funding for AI-based skin cancer tool

Skin Analytics receives NHSX award to support deployment of unique diagnostic aid across the NHS

The DERM device has already been deployed at two hospital trusts, leading to a significant reduction in unnecessary referrals and helping to tackle the COVID-19 dermatology backlog

Skin Analytics, an AI medical technology company, has been granted a Phase 4 AI in Health and Care Award from NHSX to accelerate development of its DERM device, which aims to change the way skin cancer is assessed and treated.

Created to accelerate the evaluation of Artificial Intelligence (AI) technologies within the NHS, the award is a major validation of the product, which is the result of nearly a decade of work with leading experts in dermatology, clinical research, and general practice.

DERM is a CE-marked device which analyses dermoscopic images of skin lesions using AI algorithms and is designed to relieve pressure on primary and secondary care services while helping more people to survive skin cancer.

Already deployed in Mid and South Essex Health and Care Partnership and at University Hospitals Birmingham NHS Foundation Trust, DERM has led to a significant reduction in unnecessary referrals while helping to tackle the dermatology backlog created by COVID-19.

Like many services, dermatology has severe backlogs due to the COVID-19 pandemic, so 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

Through the NHSX award, these benefits can now be shared more widely across the NHS through a series of deployments giving thousands of clinicians and millions of patients access to the product.

Neil Daly, chief executive of Skin Analytics, said: “The AI award is a major step forward in making DERM more widely available across the NHS.

“It will enable us to put our technology into the hands of GPs and clinicians around the country and allow them to assess its benefits for themselves.

“The key to skin cancer survival is early diagnosis, and DERM helps to prioritise patients into specialist services sooner rather than later.

“At the same time, we can more-effectively manage the sharply-rising demand for dermatology services with the workforce we have.”

Skin Analytics has received a Phase 4 AI in Health and Care Award from NHSX to further development and increase deployment of the product

Dr Lucy Thomas, a consultant dermatologist at Chelsea & Westminster Hospital, adds: “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, so 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.”

The key to skin cancer survival is early diagnosis, and DERM helps to prioritise patients into specialist services sooner rather than later

When deployed in primary care, Skin Analytics is used as an adjunctive tool used to aid GPs with their decision making.

With an assessment from DERM, Skin Analytics helps GPs place patients on the right pathway from the start.

And, in secondary care, it enables AI teledermatology hubs providing an adjunctive tool to support dermatologists to triage cases and direct patients to the right next step.

This helps discharge benign referrals earlier in the pathway, speed up cancer diagnosis, and re-allocate dermatology resources to focus on patients who most need care.

As of this week, Skin Analytics has assessed more than 6,500 patients and discharged over 1,600 benign referrals.

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