World-first artificial intelligence medical trial to take place in Scotland
NHS Greater Glasgow and Clyde (NHSGGC) is exploring how artificial intelligence (AI) can be used to support clinicians who are providing care to patients with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD).
The year-long trial, which launched on Monday in partnership with Lenus Health and the West of Scotland Innovation Hub, will apply machine learning based models to secure electronic health record data.
The AI will try to identify patients at highest risk of adverse events for review by clinicians, within the COPD multi-disciplinary team, with the aim of allowing proactive interventions to improve outcomes and reduce emergency care requirements.
Dr Chris Carlin, consultant respiratory physician at NHSGGC and project lead, said the trial was “incredibly exciting”. “It’s the first time we’re bringing together predictive AI insight for COPD into live clinical practice,” he said.
“With the ageing population and rising prevalence and complexity of long-term conditions, clinicians are overwhelmed with data that they don’t have the capacity to review. We need to deploy assistive technologies to provide us with prioritised insights from patient data.
“These have the potential to give us back time to focus on patient-clinician human interactions, and allow us to optimise preventative management to improve patient outcomes and quality of life rather than continue to firefight with unsustainable reactive unscheduled care.”
COPD is a progressive and preventable disease that affects around 1.2 million people in the UK and is the second most common cause of emergency hospital admissions. The annual economic burden of COPD on the NHS throughout the UK is estimated as £1.9 billion.
Treatment following exacerbations of symptoms, such as needing emergency treatment, accounts for 70 per cent of these costs.
Lenus Health chief executive Paul McGinness said: “We are confident that the introduction of clinical decision support based on AI generated insights is the intervention, which can truly transform management of chronic conditions like COPD by enabling prioritised care optimisation and enhanced proactive self-management support.”
Patients currently using the digital COPD service at NHSGGC will have the option to consent to take part in the AI study.
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