Health Tech Awards 2022: best use of AI and automation

Our finalists for ‘best use of AI and automation’ in the Health Tech Awards 2022 are:

SilverCloud Health

Overview: SilverCloud Health’s open-source machine learning tool aims to improve outcomes for patients accessing mental health services.

Why? SilverCloud Health is used globally to meet the mental health needs of patients and employees, with programmes aimed at both prevention and treatment to improve menta health and wellbeing at any time and in any place.

What happened? The machine learning tool works alongside the SilverCloud Health iCBT platform, mapping out optimum paths of recovery for individual patients based on analysis of thousand of patient outcomes. Once a patient starts to work through one of the programmes, the machine learning tool predicts the likelihood of success on that pathway, providing the individual’s coach with bespoke insight if they are deemed unlikely to succeed, so that alternations can be made to improve their chances of improvement. This allows for faster resolution of mental health problems.

Looking ahead. SilverCloud Health launched a randomised controlled trial in early 2022, putting their machine learning tool into a real-life setting in partnership with the Talking Therapies service at Berkshire Healthcare NHS Foundation Trust, with full results on the tool’s impact set to be published later this year.


Overview: Transform and Health Education England (HEE) are using data and advanced analytics to deliver breakthrough insights and build confidence in AI.

Why? The NHS is facing enormous challenges in meeting workforce demand, with demand growing and current recruitment insufficient.

What happened? HEE aims to improve health and care for people in England, ensuring the necessary workforce is adequate, reducing attrition and increasing attainment. HEE had insight on the drivers of attrition but did not understand the unique blends of drivers for each individual, so using machine learning algorithms on large datasets enabled HEE to obtain insights at a personal level. Transform prepared data into a modelling dataset, collating and cleaning it; the data was then fed into a number of supervised machine learning classifier algorithms. A model was developed to provide an attrition prediction for a trainee at the start of each placement, and the optimised model identified 63 percent of individuals at risk of attrition. This allows HEE to successfully identify individuals with high propensity of attrition and allows for a better understanding of possible intervention approaches.

Looking ahead. HEE note that through the project can use their data to deliver new insights to support decision making, and process more data at greater speed to develop and test attrition theories.

NHS Shared Business Services and Lewisham and Greenwich NHS Trust

Overview: NHS Shared Business Services (NHS SBS) partnered with Lewisham and Greenwich NHS Trust to introduce robotic process automation (RPA) for a more efficient pharmacy invoice process.

Why? The trust recognised the opportunity to automate some of their most mundane and time-consuming manual activities.

What happened? The trust partnered with NHS SBS, which saw automation experts create a clear plan and plot the journey towards developing a potential RPA solution. Workshops were held to identify the precise challenge and existing process, highlighting any barriers or areas of impact. The team then designed and developed a comprehensive RPA solution, which led to the launch of a robot nicknamed Steve. Steve was programmed to handle the consolidation of pharmacy invoices into a single weekly payment, achieving reduced invoice payment costs. The entire project was completed in 12 weeks and the bot delivered immediate benefits; manual task competition time has reduced from one hour to two minutes, with a 100 percent accuracy rate, and the trust expects annual financial savings of around £40,000 in this area of the hospital alone.

Looking ahead. With their new streamlined pharmacy invoice processes, the trust looks forward to saving money and time with increased accuracy in the future.

Alder Hey Children’s NHS Foundation Trust

Overview: Alder Hey Children’s NHS Foundation Trust has developed an RPA programme focused on creating a virtual workforce to support the Alder Hey workforce.

Why? The programme aims to reduce administrative burden and allow time to be re-invested elsewhere in more meaningful tasks.

What happened? The first RPA was launched in April 2021 with the booking and scheduling team; since then a further eight RPAs have been implemented to support areas including human resources, data validation and the children and adolescent mental health services team. The automations have demonstrated the positive impact of RPA with significant efficiency savings in administrative time along with improved data quality of patient and staff records. Alder Hey has also been working with the Cheshire and Merseyside Health and Care Partnership ICS over the past 12 months to support the adoption of RPA across the region, with the ICS aiming to standardise approach and implementation to establish a regional Centre of Excellence.

Looking ahead. Alder Hey has gained £1 million in funding from NHSX to establish itself as the Centre for Excellence and will use the finding to expand the RPA team and infrastructure to build the capability needed to provide success and support to other trusts.

GP Automate

Overview: GP Automate uses RPA technology to automate everyday tasks, freeing up clinician time.

Why? GP Automate was developed in the NHS by the NHS by a GP partner of 14 years, in direct response to the unsustainability of general practice.

What happened? RPA technology is used to automate lab reports, patient registrations and Accurx floreys, giving clinical staff time to focus on more meaningful work and better clinical outcomes. With the potential to work 24 hours per day and 7 days per week without the need for breaks, GP Automate is saving over 4 hours of workload every day by automating processes, translating into a cost saving of up to £9.70 per patient per year. The technology also supports morale and job satisfaction among staff by removing mundane, repetitive tasks. GP Automate has been implemented at Premier Medical Centre in London for 8 weeks, and has recently been deployed at three other GP practices in Brent.

Looking ahead. GP Automate is transforming how general practice operates, saving time and costs and providing a roadmap of new automations designed for the NHS to improve long-time sustainability of primary care.