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NHSXPatients with COVID-19 are set to benefit from faster treatment, improved outcomes and shorter hospital stays thanks to the use of the latest artificial intelligence.

The National COVID-19 Chest Imaging Database (NCCID) was established to fulfil the NHS AI Lab’s mission of enabling the safe adoption of AI technologies, with an immediate focus on combatting the pandemic.

A joint initiative between NHSX, the British Society of Thoracic Imaging (BSTI), Royal Surrey NHS Foundation Trust and Faculty, the NCCID is designed to enable the development of software that helps doctors and researchers to:

  • understand the impact and progression of the disease
  • assess the severity of the condition in individual patients
  • identify factors that may complicate recovery
  • prioritise patients whose condition is most likely to deteriorate

Since NHSX began this initiative at the start of the pandemic, NHSX have made fast progress in pulling data from hospital sites and enabling researchers to access the data to develop AI technologies that can support the care of those hospitalised with COVID-19. NHSX are now supported by the efforts of 20 NHS Trusts who are contributing data to the NCCID. As a result of their collaboration, the database now includes over 40,000 image studies for over 12,000 patients, making the NCCID one of the largest initiatives of its kind in the UK.  

Medical images such as X-rays play a central role in detecting diseases, predicting patient outcomes and informing the type of care needed. Over 10 research groups, including a number of UK university interdisciplinary groups of clinicians, mathematicians, engineers and computer scientists, are using the NCCID. They are accessing the database to investigate technologies that could use the images to diagnose COVID-19 and predict what care will be needed for those patients with confirmed COVID-19. NHSX have published NCCID project summaries to give more information about the work. As the NCCID continues to grow, NHSX would like to invite acute trusts, researchers and technology companies to get involved with the project. In particular you can be involved with:

  • contributing data from hospital sites
  • using the NCCID as a tool for research
  • developing a platform for AI imaging research

Dominic Cushnan, Head of AI Imaging at NHSX, said:

“We are applying the power of artificial intelligence to quickly detect disease patterns and develop new treatments for patients. There is huge potential for patient care, whether through quicker analysis of chest images or better identification of abnormalities. The industrial scale collaboration of the NHS, research and innovators on this project alone has demonstrated the huge potential and benefits of technology in transforming care.”



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