News, NHS trust

Chelsea and Westminster pilots AI solution for cataract patients

Chelsea and Westminster Hospital has launched a “concept test” pilot of AI solution Dora to support cataract patients, which will see Dora phone patients on behalf of the department and ask them questions about their experience so far, along with being able to answer certain queries.

Dora is developed by health tech organisation Ufonia who describe the solution as an automated clinical assistant capable of supporting any clinical speciality by delivering “any common clinical conversation, from triaging a referral to pre-operative assessment, post-operative follow-up and long term monitoring of outcomes”. Suggested benefits by Ufonia include accessibility, with no requirement for specific technology or an internet connection; the ability to call “any number of patients, at any frequency and at any time”; and a regulated clinical quality management system to support patients in having a “safe, consistent and high quality experience”.

The solution is being piloted in Chelsea and Westminster’s ophthalmology department with the hopes of improving speed and efficiency of the service, and to allow clinical staff and administrators to focus on other key tasks for patients.

The hospital adds that the pilot study “emphasises safety and serves as a concept test rather than a full-fledged service”, and that they will be “implementing strict gateways to ensure acceptance and closely monitoring the implementation of Dora to prioritise patient well-being and responsible use of AI technology”.

Earlier this year, Chelsea and Westminster Hospital took part in a case study on digital preoperative assessment  triage, reporting key takeaways including a waitlist reduction of 17,003 patients and an 8 percent improvement in theatre utilisation. The trust sought to design and deploy their own solution capable of integration with other elements of the patient surgical pathway on the Care Coordination Solution (CCS).

In the development of AI solutions for health and care, the Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency (MHRA) has announced that it is progressing with a new “regulatory sandbox”, AI-Airlock, a partnership between government, regulators and industry “which will see advanced AI technology used in NHS settings safely ahead of regulatory approval”, in order to allow NHS patients to benefit early from emerging technologies.