News, Primary Care News

AI solutions piloted to support preventive care in Birmingham, Buckinghamshire and Somerset

NHS England has shared how artificial intelligence solutions are being deployed across the NHS with the aim of identifying patients at risk of hospital admission, so that teams can provide preventive care in the hopes of reducing pressure on A&E.

One such example is an algorithm designed to predict the top five percent of people at risk of potential admission, currently being piloted in Birmingham, so that staff can offer preventative support such as medication reviews or social prescribing to reduce “unnecessary” A&E attendance. NHSE shares an aim for the scheme to prevent 4,500 such attendances, 17,000 overnight hospital stays and up to 23,000 GP appointments over the next two years.

In Buckinghamshire, AI is being used to identify changes in eating and drinking habits through electronic sensors on kettles and fridges, so that the changes can be flagged with a non-clinical team for follow-up.

Meanwhile, in Somerset, four GP practices are trialling an AI system designed to identify patients at risk of admission, those with complex needs or those who rarely contact their GP so that the practices can reach out to these individuals with the offer of preventive care, such as providing links with a local voluntary group to combat loneliness or putting in support to avoid falls.

Amanda Pritchard, NHS chief executive, comments: “This suite of tech and data solutions ahead of winter demonstrates how NHS staff across the country are innovating every step of the way, maximising the use of the latest technology and AI to help patients but also significantly reducing the number of avoidable A&E attendances. They are identifying the most at-risk or vulnerable patients and wider issues affecting their health, so teams can get to them early and help avoid an unnecessary visit to hospital – not only are these measures better for patients who can be cared for at home where they feel most comfortable but they are good for the NHS too, particularly when we know that this winter is likely to be incredibly challenging.”

Yesterday we covered Amanda Pritchard’s speech to the the NHS Providers Annual Conference, in which she highlighted the role of digital and tech as “increasingly important”.

In other news on AI, the MHRA recently 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.

Elsewhere, a study undertaken by the The Royal Marsden NHS Foundation Trust and The Institute of Cancer Research, London, has shared news of an AI algorithm designed to help tailor treatment for some sarcoma patients and help diagnose subtypes of rare disease.