Mid and South Essex pilots prediction tech to reduce did not attend rate

NHS England has highlighted a pilot at Mid and South Essex NHS Foundation Trust where artificial intelligence (AI) technology is being used to predict likely missed appointments.

The algorithm, created by Deep Medical, uses a range of external insights including the weather, traffic and jobs, to identify where and why a patient may potentially miss an appointment, and offer them an alternative. It’s said to have “90% accuracy in offering patients appointments they are more likely to attend”.

Mid and South Essex is trialling the tech and currently has an average did not attend (DNA) rate of 8%, with the tech set to be introduced at five additional trusts this year.

Dr Deldar, co-founder of Deep Medical, said: “This really isn’t about people forgetting an appointment, at the core of this issue is challenging health inequalities in our communities. Whilst working on the frontline over COVID, I felt the impact of the pandemic on our services.

“We’ve created a system that can better identify and offer support for patients, whilst importantly tackle the NHS waiting list. Being a part of the NHS Clinical Entrepreneur Programme has given me the framework and skills to scale innovations with purpose.”

NHS chief executive Amanda Pritchard, added: “This pilot shows the NHS testing the latest technological advancements to address the real world challenges we face. The system will help ensure patients receive ‘smart’ appointments, that are convenient and fit into people’s increasingly busy lives.”

Steve Barclay, Health and Social Care Secretary, said:“This pilot will take us even further, using ground-breaking software to track patients’ preferences and offer them appointments they are more likely to attend with 90% accuracy. Wider use of this technology could potentially save the health service hundreds of millions of pounds ever year and boost our efforts to cut waiting lists so patients can get the care they need more quickly.”