News, NHS trust

NHS England plans to roll out AI to help reduce non-attendance

NHS England has announced plans to roll out AI to help reduce missed appointments and improve waiting times for elective care, following a pilot at Mid and South Essex NHS Foundation Trust which saw the number of DNAs reduced by “almost a third in six months”, potentially saving the trust “£27.5 million a year”.

Based on the successful pilot, an AI solution created by Deep Medical, which uses an algorithm to predict non-attendance based on external insights such as people’s jobs, childcare commitments, live traffic and weather, before offering back-up bookings for patients; will be rolled out to a further ten NHS trusts.

Other examples of AI being used successfully to improve patient care and pathways include work at University Hospitals Coventry and Warwickshire (UHCW) NHS Trust, where process mining has been utilised to help the trust visualise how well their processes are working, “revealing bottlenecks and other areas of improvement”. The pilot at UHCW looked at DNAs and identified “a spike in last-minute cancellations after two SMS reminders had been sent”, leading to the discovery that “messaging patients 14 days before an appointment and a follow-up four days before was most effective” in encouraging earlier cancellations.

At Sheffield Children’s NHS Foundation Trust, an AI tool developed by Alder Hey Innovation, has been piloted to predict and identify children most at risk of missing appointments, with the AI Predictor sending out an additional text reminder with an offer of support to those identified as having “a greater than or equal to 50% chance of missing their appointments”. Based on a benchmark of 19.27 percent of missed appointments, the trust expected 8,581 missed appointments over the 12-month period, but with this initiative in place, “just under 6,500 patients were recorded as “was not brought” during the year”, meaning “almost 200 more appointments were attended each month as a result of this work”.

To learn more about the roll-out of AI to reduce missed appointments and improve waiting times, please click here.

Also on reducing waiting lists, Royal Cornwall Hospitals NHS Trust (RCHT) has partnered with Isla Health to offer dermatology services remotely to patients across community hospitals in Cornwall. Patients can be referred-in by their GP to an imaging clinic, where a medical photographer will take photographs of areas identified for concern, before those images are reviewed by a consultant using the ISLA platform the following day.

In other news on AI, a research team from the University of Leeds has developed an artificial intelligence device said to be capable of predicting acute kidney injury (AKI), following a grant of £220,000 from Kidney Research UK in partnership with the Stoneygate Trust.