With a large backlog of appointments caused by coronavirus, some hospitals in England and Wales have started using algorithms to prioritise patients most urgently in need of care and to help clear the mounting numbers. Multiple companies are vying to get into this space from Babylon's AI services which provide health information, to DrDoctor, which recently released a new AI software adopted to collate and automatically rate patient's responses with digital questionnaires. Tom Whicher, CEO of DrDoctor estimates that if every hospital in the country adopted his technology, the time needed to get through the backlog would be dramatically reduced from four years to ten months. DrDoctor has also stressed that the tool will not decide anything for patients, it does not make clinical suggestions or rule out any patients form receiving care. The platform will present the data and the clinician ultimately makes the decision.
A £250m fund to boost technology in operating theatres is set to be established by the government as part of today's NHS funding announcement. The elective recovery technology fund aims to provide access to "cutting edge technologies" according to the governments Build Back Better plan published today (September 7). A further £250m will be provided to increase operating theatre capacity and improve productivity in hospitals. It comes as the government introduced a new health and social care tax to raise an extra £36billion for frontline services over the next three years. The 1.25% rise in National Insurance kicks in from April 2022 with the bulk of funding focused on reforming health and care in England, as outlined in the Build Back Better plan.
The number of NHS patients admitted for routine operations has dropped 82 per cent in a year and cancer waits have hit a record low as devastating statistics today revealed the strain Covid-19 has put on hospitals. Shocking NHS England data showed the number of patients admitted for treatment across the country plummeted to 54,550 in May, compared with the 295,881 last May. And 1.45million patients have had to wait at least 18 weeks to start hospital treatment for routine operations such as hip and knee replacements -- the worst since 2007 and more than double last May. Official figures also revealed fewer than half (47.9 per cent) of people who got diagnosed with cancer after a screening appointment managed to get potentially life-saving treatment within the target time of two months. On top of this, cancer waiting times in England have hit an all-time during the coronavirus crisis.
Millions of NHS patients are being offered an appointment with their GP by video on their smartphones under a controversial new scheme. The service, which has left experts concerned, is to be trialed at five surgeries in London but it is predicted it will become the standard way to'see' a doctor. Patients will be able to get a GP appointment within minutes using the new service, which will work 24 hours a day, seven days a week. The technology has been developed for use in private medicine by Babylon. It will be paid from the public purse to run the trial of the'GP at Hand' service.
'Alexa, what are the early signs of a stroke?' GPs may no longer be the first port of call for patients looking to understand their ailments. 'Dr Google' is already well established in patients' minds, and now they have a host of apps using artificial intelligence (AI), allowing them to input symptoms and receive a suggested diagnosis or advice without the need for human interaction. And policymakers are on board. Matt Hancock is the most tech-friendly health secretary ever, NHS England chief executive Simon Stevens wants England to lead the world in AI, and the prime minister last month announced £250m for a national AI lab to help cut waiting times and detect diseases earlier. Amazon even agreed a partnership with NHS England in July to allow people to access health information via its voice-activated assistant Alexa.