However, thanks to the pandemic, a few British hospitals are now rolling out AI tools to help medical staff interpret chest X-rays more quickly. For instance, staff at the Royal Bolton Hospital, are using AI that has been trained on more than 2.5 million chest X-rays, including around 500 confirmed Covid-19 cases.

It has been running automatically on every chest X-ray the hospital has carried out for about a week, says Rizwan Malik, a radiology consultant at the hospital. This means more than 100 patients will have had X-rays analysed by the system to date, he estimates. In this case, the algorithm is designed to look for possible signs of Covid-19, such as patterns of opacity in the lungs.

“It basically gives clinicians another tool to help them make decisions - for example, which patients they’ll admit, which they’ll send home,” says Dr Malik, who notes that patient data is processed entirely within the hospital’s own network. The software itself was developed by Mumbai-based

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