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Details of Grant 

EPSRC Reference: EP/R013950/1
Title: Distributed Intelligent Ultrasound Imaging System for Secure in-community Diagnostics (SecureUltrasound)
Principal Investigator: Roy, Professor R
Other Investigators:
Vepakomma, Dr B Arora, Dr M Nayar, Dr V
Raj, Professor B Chakrabarti, Professor A Erkoyuncu, Dr J
Raj, Dr TD Zhao, Dr Y
Researcher Co-Investigators:
Project Partners:
Department: Sch of Aerospace, Transport & Manufact
Organisation: Cranfield University
Scheme: GCRF (EPSRC)
Starts: 01 February 2018 Ends: 31 January 2021 Value (£): 970,750
EPSRC Research Topic Classifications:
Med.Instrument.Device& Equip.
EPSRC Industrial Sector Classifications:
Healthcare
Related Grants:
Panel History:
Panel DatePanel NameOutcome
14 Nov 2017 EPSRC GCRF Diagnostics, Prosthetics and Orthotics panel November 2017 Announced
Summary on Grant Application Form
The proposed research is going to develop low cost, secure, point of care ultrasound imaging for prenatal care for India. The availability of skilled technician or doctor that can conduct ultrasound scanning for pregnant mothers in remote areas is a major challenge in India. Usage of diagnostics ultrasound in India has also been controversial because of its extensive misuse for sex-selective abortions. Indian government introduced legislation back in 1994 to ban the disclosure of foetus gender through the PC-PNDT (Pre-Conception and Prenatal Diagnostic Techniques) Act and continuously tightened regulation to limit such misuse, these efforts have had limited or no effect on the ground. The nature and scale of the problem is unique to India. A secure ultrasound scanning system with guided image capture and a remote diagnostic service, that can work in rural areas in India, is essential to significantly improve the prenatal care, health assessment and wellbeing for the baby and the mother. The Indian challenge is also valid in other Low and Middle Income Countries (LMICs) on the OECD DAC list of ODA recipients, such as African states.

The proposed research builds on state of the art freehand 3D ultrasound technology, care pathway modelling and design, cloud based framework for ultrasound image analysis, servitization of the healthcare provision and augmented reality based digital medical assistant for prenatal scanning. This research will build on the existing research and investigate new technology development to address the 'skills shortage' and 'selective abortion' challenges in India during prenatal care. The research will bring the best universities and research institutes in India to work directly with Cranfield University to solve this social challenge using latest technologies.

This research will build capability and capacity in less-skilled ultrasound scanning for prenatal care with no visual feedback during scanning in India. The research will start with a two weeks long stakeholder interaction in India and intensive literature review. The interaction will involve direct prenatal care observation in unstructured rural areas, rural healthcare centres, semi-urban municipality areas, urban deprived areas and modern hospitals as per the ethical guidelines of India. A shorter interaction will take place with three surgeries and three hospitals in the UK. Engaging with the end user to better understand their expectations and requirements will be a major focus of this part of the research. The requirements will be the basis for the ultrasound scanning system development, starting with a concept design. The system will have two major components: the ultrasound transmit and receive system with customised ultrasound transducer and the AR based data capture assistant. Working prototypes of the technologies will be built for controlled clinical validations. During the research across the two countries, ethical guidelines and processes will be implemented in a systematic manner in compliance with the requirements from Cranfield University, IISc, SJRI and NIAS. The research will address the cultural and social sensitivities of the participating communities. This will have direct impact on the user interaction, data capture, transmission and storage. New technologies developed will be tested in laboratory conditions first and then in SJRI within a controlled clinical environment. The new ultrasound hardware and software performance will be compared to the best quality ultrasound scanners available in the commercial market. In parallel, the impact of the secure ultrasound scanning service for mothers across different communities will be studied using a combination of quantitative and qualitative methods. The impact of the novel technologies on the Indian society will be studied in detail by NIAS. the research team will engage with the manufacturers and their supply chain to further exploit the results of this research.
Key Findings
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Potential use in non-academic contexts
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Summary
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Organisation Website: http://www.cranfield.ac.uk