Spectra Analytics is delighted to announce a £1m funding award from InnovateUK to use Artificial Intelligence (AI) to improve NHS Primary Care. The PATCHS project, in collaboration with the University of Manchester, Salford Clinical Commissioning Group, and Manchester Health & Care Commissioning, aims to ease access to GP care for urgent cases and reduce GP waiting times. PATCHS is expected to improve patient satisfaction and reduce pressure on staff. Trials are taking place in interested GP practices over the next 2 years.
Primary care is at breaking point nationally as the demand for GP appointments continues to rise whilst under-investment continues to squeeze resources. Consequently, waiting times have risen, as have instances of patients being unable to see their GP when required. This is potentially endangering patients and putting immense pressure on GPs. Effective triage procedures – directing patients to the appropriate care based upon clinical needs – can improve the situation.
Research suggests 27% of GP consultations are potentially avoidable with patients better seen by another healthcare professional such as a nurse, pharmacist, or mental health worker. GP practices do not have standardised triage processes, so the approach can vary significantly between practices. Some have adopted triage technologies but Dr Ben Brown, Wellcome Trust Fellow at the University of Manchester and practising GP, says “Current triage technologies are generally not very sophisticated, which means that they either make a large number of incorrect triage decisions, putting patients at risk, or rely heavily on medical staff, increasing workload. Furthermore, the effectiveness of these technologies has not been rigorously evaluated”.
PATCHS uses AI to analyse patient symptoms, medical history, and a range of other factors such as weather and pollution, to determine the type and urgency of a GP appointment request. It then directs patients to the appropriate care professional. CEO of Spectra Analytics, Dr Marcus Ong, says that “This data-driven approach potentially allows the AI to analyse a far broader range of factors that can influence the urgency of a patient’s GP appointment request. It also means that we can tailor triage decisions for individual patients.”
Trials are being held in Salford and Manchester over the next two years. Kirstine Farrer, Head of Innovation and Research at Salford CCG, said “Digital innovation is of utmost importance to Salford CCG, and we are keen to support projects that have the potential to improve the efficiency and quality of primary care. We are keen to assess how PATCHS can help manage patient demand and reduce GP workload.”
If you are interested in finding out more about PATCHS please contact Dr Marcus Ong at Spectra Analytics, email email@example.com or call 0203 968 7800.