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A state-of-the-art method that uses artificial intelligence to check bone health and reduce fracture risk has been successful in the latest round of the Artificial Intelligence in Health and Care Award.

CT scanner and digital imagery © SHUTTERSTOCK

NDORMS was one of the organisations to receive the funding, as part of a partnership with Zebra Medical Vision and in collaboration with The Royal Osteoporosis Society, and the University of Cambridge. The award was announced by the Secretary of State for Health, Matt Hancock on 16 June. The AI Award is making £140 million available over four years to accelerate the testing and evaluation of artificial intelligence technologies which meet the aims set out in the NHS Long Term Plan.

Kassim Javaid, Associate Professor at NDORMS, is co-lead for the multi-centre project using AI to analyse any CT scan to catch undiagnosed spinal fractures, which can be a marker for osteoporosis.

Patients will be directed to fracture prevention programmes, where they will receive lifestyle advice, and medications where appropriate, to reduce future fracture risks associated with the disease.

The award allows the team to test this AI-enabled pathway in five different hospitals and study how the technology impacts patients' health and protects them from fractures. It takes it one step closer to being used in the NHS to benefit patients and provide life-changing treatment.

Kassim said: "As the co-lead from NDORMS at the University of Oxford, I am excited to use our team's research skills and expertise to provide the critical information for the NHS to implement this AI technology for the benefit of 100,000s of patients every year, offering medicines to protect their bones and maintain a healthy independent life."

"This grant is another milestone in our path towards a fully comprehensive and scalable AI solution for population health domains. This prestigious grant is joining our R&D collaboration with NHS Greater Glasgow & Clyde to co-develop AI-enabled osteoporosis prevention services," says Zohar Elhanani, CEO of Zebra Medical Vision. "We're honored to be chosen by the NHS time after time and are thankful for the opportunity to demonstrate our groundbreaking technology in the areas of vertebral fractures for the benefit of the broader population."

The AI Award is one of the programmes that make up the NHS AI Lab, led by NHSX and delivered in partnership with the Accelerated Access Collaborative (AAC) and National Institute for Health Research (NIHR).