Global tech giant Fujifilm has given Welsh healthcare professionals an exclusive first look at its latest medical innovation ahead of the product’s global clinical launch.

Image of AI scanner and 3 individuals

The Japanese multinational photography and imaging company, which is a pioneer in medical imaging and diagnostics equipment, previewed its new artificial intelligence (AI) software, which is integrated into a mobile radiography system, at an event hosted by Life Sciences Hub Wales.

Flown in from Tokyo for the event, the FDR nano is a mobile X-ray unit uses integrated AI technology to quickly identify and flag abnormalities that need further investigation.  The product is the first Fujifilm AI enabled mobile unit in Europe and is due to commence clinical trials in a UK hospital next month.  

The AI in the unit highlights suspicious areas on the image to the radiographer taking the X-ray using a heat map. This means that any potential issues are detected and flagged at the time of the X-ray examination, and instead of being sent to a radiologist’s workflow list without prioritisation, can be flagged for immediate attention.

Thanks to the artificial intelligence, cases where abnormalities have been identified in a patient will be prioritised and immediately referred to a radiologist for assessment, speeding up diagnosis and treatment.

The technology uses deep learning algorithms to provide a clear visual and statistical analysis of a wide range of conditions, including tuberculosis, where it has a 100% detection rate, and chest conditions such as a collapsed lung and enlarged heart, where it has 97% accuracy.

Adrian Waller, General Manager at Fujifilm UK Ireland, said:

“This new technology has the potential to bring huge benefits to healthcare, both in terms of improving patient care and treatment, and improving operational efficiency for overstretched radiology departments.  Across healthcare AI is enabling smaller, more portable equipment to execute diagnostic examinations closer to the patient with immediate indication of findings.

“Whilst radiographers may detect and prioritise some images of concern at the time of the examination, many images are referred to a specialist radiologist to be read and reported with no indication of priority.  

“There is a chronic shortage of radiologists across the UK, and many hospitals have significant backlogs which can mean some cases can go unreported for weeks.  By flagging abnormalities straight away, this new technology can ensure cases are effectively prioritised and put at the top of the list for reporting, which in turn will speed up diagnosis and treatment for patients.”

Fujifilm unveiled the new FDR nano with integrated AI at the first Life Sciences Hub Wales ‘Industry Technology Day’ – an event designed to give clinicians and healthcare professionals early access to medical technology. Aimed at inspiring and driving innovation within health and social care, the Life Sciences Hub works to bring together and support collaboration between industry, health and social care, and research organisations to make a positive difference to health and wellbeing of people in Wales.

During the event, Fujifilm also provided delegates with an overview of its broader portfolio of products and how these could benefit Wales’ healthcare system.

Wales is one of Fujifilm’s largest customers in Europe, and the firm manages the X-rays of every health board and hospital in the country.  More than 2.6 billion images are held in Fujifilm’s picture archiving and communication system (PACS) in Wales.

Cari-Anne Quinn, CEO at Life Sciences Hub Wales said:

“We were thrilled to welcome Fujifilm to Life Sciences Hub Wales and very excited to have a preview of its brand-new tech, which was flown in especially for the showcase.

“Fujifilm’s pioneering work in the areas of preventive healthcare and treatment epitomises the innovation and systematic change that we are focused on driving here at Life Sciences Hub Wales.”