NHS England – Midlands has earmarked £1.28m for artificial intelligence (AI)-driven upgrade to the radiology training facilities at County Hospital in Stafford, UK.

The funds will help develop a new training model at the Midlands Imaging Training Academy (MITA).

This model will enable a single consultant to train and observe learners across all academy sites in the region at the same time.

Such an approach will free up other consultants to devote more time to patient care. 

The new electronics and picture archiving suite (EPACS) will serve as a platform to develop AI learning and support in imaging academies.

It will leverage eye tracking to instruct the AI algorithms based on human behaviours.

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By deploying XRNET high-speed education network and EPACS workstations, the trainers can instruct and supervise trainees remotely on a real-time basis.

Furthermore, it will connect education institutions and other national academies to partner utilising high-definition imaging.

Using an extended reality lab (ERL), trainees can be placed in various settings such as an MRI scanning suite or an accident and emergency (A&E) ward. It will offer realistic simulation training for clinicians.

NHS England – Midlands Workforce, Training and Education joint director Tom Kirkbride said: “This model is an example of how we are investing in services as part of the NHS Long Term Workforce Plan, to reform the way our healthcare staff work, harnessing new digital technology to allow them to focus on patient care.

“It is a huge benefit to patients, and we expect it to have a positive impact on winter pressures, as more of our imaging workforce can be trained by fewer consultants across a large geographical area, freeing up other consultants to have more time for patient care. 

“This could be the first of a network built around the country to benefit patients and clinicians nationally and could potentially be available worldwide to deliver familiarisation training for international recruits, before they come to the UK to start work in the NHS.”