The breast imaging service at Leeds Teaching Hospitals NHS Trust is the first in the UK to introduce a new artificial intelligence (AI) technology which evaluates the technical quality of mammograms.

The Canadian software company Densitas has worked with the team to customise the software to meet the needs of the department and the high image quality standards required by the NHS Breast Screening Programme.

The technology will be implemented in both screening and symptomatic breast services to provide mammographers with instant feedback and AI-generated positioning information when the image is taken. This means that any quality issues are flagged at the patient’s appointment which will reduce recall rates to the department and enhance the accuracy of the image interpretation.

Dr Nisha Sharma, director of breast screening at Leeds Teaching Hospitals said: “Using AI will make a real difference to the quality of our breast screening program and ultimately to the health outcomes of women in Leeds. Here at the Leeds Breast Screening unit we are delighted to collaborate with Densitas® and build on this foundation for future developments that will improve breast care.”

In addition to improving diagnosis for women, the technology has also been designed to support the continuous improvement of staff in the busy service. Advanced analytics surface any individual positioning trends that lead to suboptimal image quality. This provides extra support to trainee staff members and helps to improve efficiency at appointments.

Maggie Fletcher, consultant radiographer at Leeds Teaching Hospitals said: “The team have been very enthusiastic about the introduction of this technology and the difference it can make in terms of efficiency. We see thousands of patients every year for routine mammograms and hope that this will provide further reassurance of the quality of our service.”

The Leeds and Wakefield Breast Screening Service, run by Leeds Teaching Hospitals, provides screening facilities for over 150,000 women each year in the districts of Leeds, Wakefield and Pontefract. Based at Seacroft Hospital, screening facilities are provided at several sites and mobile mammography units in West Yorkshire.