University College London Hospitals (UCLH) NHS FT has announced a research and innovation collaboration with Microsoft to develop and apply advances in artificial intelligence and digital technologies.
The partnership will see the two organisations develop AI algorithms and applications to help improve patient flow, support medical imaging and automate time consuming radiotherapy preparations.
UCLH said that “to realise the potential of AI for healthcare and develop the right solutions for the NHS, we believe the best approach is to create solutions working together on the ground, in the hospital where these innovations need to be deployed, subject to the appropriate regulatory approvals.”
One of the first projects will explore how AI can be used to predict hour by hour and day by day fluctuations in demand for acute hospital care. The researchers will work closely with hospital staff to understand their everyday practices and challenges. The team will explore where AI can provide real time insights to help hospital managers and frontline staff to allocate their resources and adapt to ever changing care pressures.
UCLH will also introduce Microsoft’s open-source InnerEye technology to build and refine its own proprietary medical imaging AI models. In November, as part of HTN Now, we welcomed the Microsoft Research and Cambridge University Hospitals NHS FT to share how their AI for medical image analysis programme is benefiting clinicians. To find out more you can watch the session here.
The partnership said “it is expected that most projects will not use identifiable data” and “where programmes need to use identifiable data, it will only be done with patients’ explicit consent and will follow Health Research Authority and other applicable guidance.”
Professor Bryan Williams, UCLH Director of Research and Director of the Biomedical Research Centre at UCLH, commented: “This is a very exciting development and there is so much opportunity. The best way to realise the real potential of AI for healthcare and develop the right solutions for the NHS, is to create these solutions working together on the ground, in the hospital where these innovations need to be deployed. In this way we move beyond talking about the potential of AI and make it work for patients in the NHS.”
Professor Marcel Levi, UCLH chief executive, added: “Recent experience of the pandemic has demonstrated the importance of being able to quickly adapt to ensure that our clinical expertise remains focused on providing the best possible patient care. The collaboration with Microsoft provides UCLH with the opportunity to harness the most innovative technologies to develop and enhance what we do.
“Machines will never replace clinicians and staff, but the use of data, expertise and technology can radically change how we manage our services – for the better.”