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3D Fusion Ultrasound

Intelligent Ultrasound

ID2: Design the Solution

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Executive Summary

Software designed to enhance ultrasound imaging in order to support improved patient diagnosis

Quick Detail

Innovation Owner:
Peter Taylor
Development stage:
ID2: Design the Solution

Project Detail

The Unmet Need

Ultrasound is one of the most commonly used diagnostic tools in the NHS. In the UK over two million scans are performed each year on pregnant women. These scans are routinely done to assess fetal development, detect developmental anomalies and screen for genetic conditions like Down’s Syndrome. In cardiology, more than a quarter of a million ultrasound scans are performed annually in to examine the structure and functional capacity of the heart.Whist the technology is reliable image quality can be poor and diagnosis relies heavily on the skills of the Sonographer to interpret an often grainy image. Poor image quality can have an impact on correct diagnosis and in many patients are routinely referred to CT or MRI if the ultrasound images are inconclusive. There is a demonstrable need to improve image quality, increase the field of view from a single scan, and make learning to use the technology significantly easier. It is widely believed that hardware solutions are close to the limit of their capability therefore software-based solutions hold the key to enhanced image quality and improved diagnostic capability.

Proposed Solution

Intelligent Ultrasound has received support from the NHS National Innovation Centre to develop a suite of novel technologies which will enhance standard ultrasound images. The project is a partnership between Oxford University Institute of Biomedical Engineering, ISIS Innovation and the NIC. A new spin out company called Intelligent Ultrasound has been created to develop the product.

The new software development will fuse together images taken on standard ultrasound machines. The images will then be processed by the software which fuses together and enhances the clearest aspects of each scan to form a single enhanced image with a much wider field of view. The resulting image is of significantly better quality aiding correct diagnosis and preventing escalation to CT or MRI.Intelligent Ultrasound will focus its development on Obstetrics and Cardiology. The initial phase of the project will be to develop commercially viable versions of the software for use in Obstetrics and Cardiology. The NIC support will provide access to relevant NHS clinicians and sites to evaluate the technology. Up to 10 evaluation sites, 5 in Obstetrics and 5 in Cardiology will be selected. These test sites will be used to continually test and evaluate the software in real life settings. This will insure the final commercial software solution is fit for purpose. In parallel with the software development the NIC is providing essential access to experts within Connecting for Health.  

Intended Benefits

This new software solution has a number of intended benefits:


  • Improved image quality is the principle advantage both for the Sonographer and other clinicians involved in a patients care. Sonographers are trained to view 2D ultrasound images, however at the time of diagnosis the Sonographer will be viewing live moving image. The moving image allows the Sonographer to see anatomy which may not be visible on a static image. The 3D Fusion software increases the visibility of key anatomy on the image which may not be visible when shared with other clinicians when retrieving the images off the PACS system
  • Faster diagnosis in the clinic / hospital without needing to escalate to more expensive CT and MRI scanning which can also be more distressing to the patient. Faster diagnosis leads to improved patient outcomes and reduced costs to the NHS
  • Improved image quality allows the Sonographer to share the image and diagnosis with other clinicians quickly using existing PACS compliant workstations
  • Low cost solution as the software can simply be instated on existing ultrasound devices

For more information please see: http://intelligentultrasound.com

Key Facts


  • Clinical outcomes
  • Patient experience

Healthcare Areas

  • Primary Care
  • Acute Care

Health Problems

  • Cardiovascular (inc Stroke)


  • Domestic