NHS SBS opens AI procurement framework

NHS Shared Business Services (NHS SBS) has opened a new procurement framework specifically for Artificial Intelligence (AI) software that supports the analysis of medical imaging for ischaemic or haemorrhagic strokes.

Five suppliers have been selected on to the framework; AI Doc, Brainomix, Viz AI, Behold AI and Ischemaview.

The tools, said to help support the clinical-decision making process, use AI algorithms to provide an interpretation of imaging to support review and diagnosis.

The framework has been developed to provide a complaint route to market, delivery the ability to directly award a contract, and run a mini-competition ensuring the suppliers have been tested as part of the framework agreement. Its ultimate aim is to ‘remove barriers’ and ‘de-risk’ a procurement process.

Darrien Bold, National Digital and AI Lead for Stroke, NHSEI, said: “We are already seeing the impact AI decision-support software is having on stroke pathways across the country, and the introduction of this framework will drive forward further progress in delivering best-practice care where rapid assessment and treatment are of the essence.

“Over the past 18 months, the heath and care system has been compelled to look to new technologies to continue providing frontline care, and the stroke community has embraced new ways of working in times of unprecedented pressure.

“This framework agreement will be of great benefit as we implement the NOSIP – driving better outcomes, better patient experience and better patient safety, using new technology quickly, safely and innovatively.”

Dr David Hargroves, Getting It Right First Time (GIRFT) Clinical Lead for Stroke and National Specialty Advisor for Stroke Medicine, NHSEI, added: “Rapid brain imaging and its interpretation is arguably one of the most important steps in the care of patients with stroke-like symptoms. Adherence to the NOSIP, incorporating AI decision support software, is likely to improve access to disability-saving interventions to thousands of patients.”

The framework opened 18 February 2022 and will run to 17 February 2024, with the option to extend to 2026.

For more information please visit the NHS SBS website.