Artificial intelligence is being used Glasgow in deliver accurate Covid test results in under three minutes in emergency patients.

More than 3,000 chest x-rays have been validated in patients displaying shortness of breath at four NHS Greater Glasgow and Clyde A&E sites.

The AI programme was able to differentiate between normal, abnormal,Covid-19 pneumonia and other forms of the illness.

Research published today found the technology performed on a par with four certified radiologists.

It aims to give an accurate result in under three minutes, which is significantly faster than the average two hour wait for a PCR test to be completed.

Doctors hope the technology could be used in the future to predict or establish the onset of other diseases including lung cancer.

Professor David Lowe, Joint Clinical Lead of the West of Scotland Innovation Hub and an Emergency Medicine Consultant at Queen Elizabeth University Hospital said: “Through testing we have been able to see that this algorithm can identify COVID-19 on chest x-rays that are routinely taken during initial clinical assessment.

"This will not just help with the treatment of patients but speeds up the process of isolating infected patients to ensure the spread is reduced.”

Dr Mark Hall, Radiology Consultant at NHSGGC added: “We continue to see the positive impact artificial intelligence has on radiology, from reducing waiting times to improving accuracy and reducing pressures on staff. 

“The level of accuracy allows consultants to make even more informed decisions as we have a greater pool of data to use.

"There can often be a misconception that AI input will mean the public get less time with doctors, but this is not the case. Technology like this will help us speed up processing high numbers of similar cases, while retaining accuracy, allowing for more time with patients and more complex cases.”

The work was carried out by iCAIRD, Scotland’s Industrial Centre for Artificial Intelligence Research in Digital Diagnostics, in partnership with NHS Greater Glasgow and Clyde and uses Canon Medical Research Europe’s Safe Haven Artificial Intelligence Platform (SHAIP) as well as datasets from the Glasgow Safe Haven.