In June 2023, the UK government unveiled a £21 million AI Diagnostic Fund (AIDF) to expedite artificial intelligence (AI) integration into the NHS by winter. As discussed in our previous blog post, this initiative was welcomed by the healthcare industry, however, a complex bidding process and ambitious timelines have left many wondering where to begin.
Being a registered AIDF supplier, our goal is to assist trusts and imaging networks in maximizing the benefits of this initiative. To achieve this, we’ve addressed key questions about the AIDF application process:
The AIDF is specifically intended for procuring and deploying AI imaging and decision-support tools for Radiology, however, since the initial announcement, questions have arisen about target clinical areas. It has recently been confirmed that the scheme will focus on chest X-ray imaging but bids for other imaging tools — including those encompassing multiple clinical pathways — will also be considered provided they address clinical needs and offer value for money.
It is important to understand that trusts and imaging networks need to work collaboratively to bid for the AIDF. Trusts are to submit bids via their imaging network, with each imaging network submitting a single, collective bid. Trusts are strongly encouraged to bid together through their network for the same technology, however, it will also be possible for trusts to make individual bids through their network.
The process for securing funding follows a strict timeline, with a bidding window between August 7th and September 4th. To submit a bid in the remaining four weeks, imaging networks must complete a “Programme of Works” document on behalf of the participating trusts, which must be signed by the CEO, CFO and CCIO of each trust. Alongside this, each trust is required to provide some further supplementary information. Both of these documents can be found and submitted through the FutureNHS site.
After bid submission, applications will be reviewed by NHS England regional teams and those with regional support will be forwarded to the AIDF panel for further moderation. Successful networks and trusts will have funding made available for procurement by October 16th, after which they will be required to conduct “mini competitions” to identify the specific solutions to deliver the desired impact on their identified clinical pathways. The aim is for deployment by December 2023.
This injection of £21M in government support presents trusts and imaging networks with a unique opportunity to enhance diagnostic accuracy, expedite patient care and lay the foundation for a healthcare system that is robust and sustainable. Artificial intelligence is already demonstrating its value across Europe with a recent publication showing how AI-assisted workflow prioritisation is significantly shortening the time to diagnosis for incidental PE (iPE) patients, saving approximately 5.2 days of diagnosis delays per patient.
Aidoc, with its award-winning AI operating system (aiOS™) is a registered AIDF supplier with a number of solutions covering multiple clinical pathways, including pulmonary embolism (PE) – from subacute to hyperacute. Our experts are on hand to answer any questions and assist with the application process. Please get in touch with our team directly here to discuss further.
More information on the application process, including submission forms and timelines is available on the AIDF workspace on FutureNHS.