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NHS to expand AI programme to 10 more trusts across England


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Since implementing AI software, Mid and South Essex NHS Foundation Trust has seen a 30 per cent fall in non-attendances

The National Health Service (NHS) is embracing new technology and innovations like artificial intelligence (AI) to reduce the number of missed hospital appointments and improve waiting times for elective care.

Following a successful pilot in Mid and South Essex NHS Foundation Trust, the health service is set to roll out AI software to 10 more trusts across England in the coming months.

The software, developed by Deep Medical in collaboration with a frontline worker and NHS clinical fellow, helps reduce the number of missed appointments by offering patients convenient time slots and backup booking options.

Since the AI programme was piloted six months ago, Mid and South Essex NHS Foundation Trust has seen a 30 per cent fall in non-attendances.

During the pilot period, a total of 377 did not attends (DNAs) were prevented and an additional 1,910 patients were attended.

Continuing with the programme, it’s projected that the trust, serving a population of 1.2 million people, could potentially save £27.5 million a year.

Health Minister Lord Markham revealed that AI forms a central part of the government’s £3.4 billion plan to boost productivity in the NHS, which also includes “a wider package to replace outdated IT systems and unlock up to £35 billion in savings”.

Dr Vin Diwakar, National Director for Transformation at NHS England, noted that the use of new technologies not only helps improve care for patients but ensures that the health service is making “the best and most efficient use of taxpayers’ money.”

“And the work being done across the country through these AI pilots shows that initiatives like this can deliver results in a short period of time, while also supporting patients to take control over their own care and help to better understand and reduce health inequalities,” he said.

According to published data, out of the 124.5 million outpatient appointments across the NHS in England last year, eight million were missed by patients. The highest number of missed appointments was seen in physiotherapy, followed by cardiology ophthalmology, trauma and orthopaedics.

This level of missed appointments is estimated to incur an annual cost of £1.2 billion to the NHS.






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