Primary Care News

AI tech introduced across Mid and South Essex GP practices

Mid and South Essex Health and Care Partnership has launched a new campaign and technology solution to raise awareness of skin cancer across the region.

Utilising a new service from Skin Analytics, GP practices across mid and south Essex are using artificial intelligence technology via a Dermascope to support decision making whether or not to refer a person to a cancer pathway.

During a consultation images of each mark or mole are taken on a smartphone, with one photo taken with a special magnifying lens attached to the smartphone. The photos are then analysed by the Skin Analytics system, providing a recommendation of whether or not the moles or marks need to be seen by a dermatologist for further investigation.

The technology forms part of a public campaign launched last month by Mid and South Essex Health and Care Partnership with construction and trade supply firms to raise awareness with specific groups, such as outdoor workers.

Dr Elizabeth Towers, Macmillan GP for Mid Essex, commented: “Early and rapid diagnosis of skin cancer is very important to improve people’s outcomes. We commissioned this ground-breaking AI tele-dermatology service from Skin Analytics to help GPs with an instant decision on whether or not to refer someone with a mark or mole (lesion) to hospital under the cancer pathway. Some 50% of referrals for skin cancer turn out to be a simple skin problem that can be dealt with in a community dermatology clinic. We hope this will lead to more accurate referrals and take the guess work out of this for GPs.”

Neil Daly, CEO and Founder of Skin Analytics, added“We know that skin cancer disproportionately affects younger people and outdoor workers are at a higher risk again. We’re delighted to be part of this initiative and use our cutting-edge AI to simplify the process for construction workers to get access to rapid skin cancer assessments.”

The region has also recently started its launch of eRedbook, to support parents digitally track their baby’s growth, vaccinations, and development. Initially launched in Southend, the project will now be gradually rolled out across Essex.

Hannah Barber, maternity lead at Mid and South Essex University Hospitals Group, said: “The eRedbook is a huge step-change for new parents to enable them to access important records about their baby’s health and development from a mobile app. Giving parents a resource to manage interactive data and access real-time information and guidance as their child grows is particularly exciting and we are thrilled to see Southend as the first area in Essex to launch the technology.”