The NHS is trying to reduce waiting times for patients by introducing artificial intelligence (AI) tools called ChatBot.
More than 2,000 patients on waiting lists in Morecambe Bay and Preston took part in a recent pilot, in which they received automated calls. During these calls, they answered a series of questions about their health condition to let the NHS Trusts know if they had worsened, no longer required treatment, or if they needed urgent access to help, reported the Lancashire Evening Post.
The majority of people (75 per cent) contacted responded to the call and the trial revealed 15 per cent were able to leave the waiting lists, making it shorter for those who required treatment, and ten per cent of inpatients said they needed an earlier appointment.
Director of service development at Lancashire Teaching Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust Gary Doherty stated: “ChatBot has had some fantastic results, both for our patients and for the NHS hospitals treating them, demonstrating what a great initiative this is.”
He added the system frees up NHS staff resources, while also checking whether patients require the treatment they are waiting for.
Following from the success of the pilot scheme, 2,000 patients in Blackpool and East Lancashire will receive SMS followed by calls from the AI system.
According to Digital Health, ChatBots have already been used to help healthcare professionals in Dorset and central and west London.
AI is becoming increasingly useful in the medical field, not just to relieve administrative workloads, but also as diagnostic tools and to assist with treatment. Nagoya City University recently developed a robot to remove large kidney stones in a very complex procedure, Science Daily revealed.
Meanwhile, an AI algorithm is being tested in Somerset to see whether it can speed up lung cancer diagnoses by prioritising which x-rays need urgent attention.
Find out more about virtual AI workflows here.