Partnership will accelerate cancer diagnosis and improve digital pathology

Exponential-e and The National Pathology Imagine Co-operative (NPIC) join together in strategic partnership to drive NHS digital transformation

Exponential-e, a leading specialist in connectivity, cloud, and unified communications solutions, is the new strategic platform provider for The National Pathology Imaging Co-operative (NPIC).

The company will support NPIC’s development of artificial intelligence (AI) to improve diagnosis and help deliver core technology platforms to support its deployment of digital pathology in the NHS.

NPIC is a unique collaboration between NHS, academia, and industry partners and is a world-leading centre for applying AI research to the diagnosis of cancer and other diseases.

It will deploy digital pathology scanners in a network of over 30 NHS hospitals across England, including fully digitising the pathology labs in 15 hospitals across the North of England.

These scanners will support the implementation of digital pathology, enabling pathologists to make diagnoses using the images and develop artificial intelligence tools to assist them.

The programme will generate more than 2.4 million images per year, which equates to at least three petabytes of data.

NPIC required a market-leading digital partner to help design, implement, host, and manage the centralised service to store the images in high-performance systems and ensure a highly-responsive user experience for NHS frontline workers.

The work that NPIC is doing to improve patient diagnosis with AI and digital pathology is truly revolutionary and we are thrilled to be a part of its ground-breaking work

The public-sector procurement governed the selection process led by Leeds Teaching Hospitals NHS Trust.

This concluded with Exponential-e being selected as the chosen delivery partner.

Exponential-e now provides NPIC with a platform for its centralised picture archiving and communication system (PACS) to sit on.

This system will process and store the images in the Dell EMC PowerScale in tandem with the Dell EMC ECS Enterprise Object Storage, enabling them to be retrieved rapidly and shared digitally with doctors and labs, with speed.

As part of information lifecycle management, the Exponential-e platform will automatically manage files according to retention periods, moving them down to a lower tier of data storage for long-term retention and to help control the cost of data growth for the programme.

The platform, which will be fully managed by Exponential-e across two three-tier data centres, and will additionally provide high-speed connectivity to hospitals that are partners on the NPIC programme.

Bash Hussain, deployment director at NPIC, said: “We have achieved a key milestone for the NPIC programme which has significant infrastructure needs for storage and processing of clinical images.

“Working alongside Exponential-e will provide the programme with a resilient, scalable platform needed to meet both our clinical and research ambitions.”

Jonathan Bridges, chief innovation officer at Exponential-e, adds: “The work that NPIC is doing to improve patient diagnosis with AI and digital pathology is truly revolutionary and we are thrilled to be a part of its ground-breaking work.

By harnessing this data in the most-meaningful ways, we’re able to help our customers drive human progress through data insights and technology innovation

“Being a chosen partner of this project further validates the deep expertise that Exponential-e has in the healthcare and life sciences sectors, and we are very much looking forward to seeing what NPIC can achieve over the coming years with our digital support.”

As the service evolves, AI platforms will be layered on top of the Exponential-e platform. This will enable better customer centricity and accelerated patient diagnosis through increased automation.

Enabling large-scale image comparison, it will also support research and advanced diagnosis and deep-learning-based pattern recognition.

Charles Wilce of Dell Technologies said: “The combination of Dell EMC PowerScale and Dell EMC ECS object storage with Exponential-e technology will deliver AI-driven insight for NPIC to improve both the quality and outcomes of patient treatment.

“By harnessing this data in the most-meaningful ways, we’re able to help our customers drive human progress through data insights and technology innovation.”

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