‘Digital mimics’ among a flurry of projects launched to support the NHS
The UK’s national institute for health data science Health Data Research (HDR) is ‘digitally mimicking’ households struggling with the cost of living crisis to simulate the most effective ways to help.
The project is one of 16 schemes spanning from data analysis to machine learning aimed at helping deal with the winter pressures facing the NHS, where workers are currently taking industrial action over pay disputes.
While some of the projects assess how technology can be leveraged to relieve pressure on hospital staff, this initiative uses existing data and AI to simulate interventions that “might improve” the quality of people’s health at home, especially children, Sky News said in a report.
Martin Chapman, lecturer at King’s College London, involved in the research, explained: “Living in cold, damp, and mouldy homes leads to chest conditions in children and mental health problems in adolescents, and rising energy costs mean more people than ever are living with heat poverty.
“We’re investigating the effectiveness of interventions like support for energy bills on the health of young people by using AI to digitally mimic their household environments and evaluate the impact of simulated interventions.”
Chapman added: “This will help guide future policy changes to “improve health conditions, reduce inequalities, and in turn reduce pressures on NHS services”.
Another project, according to the institute, intends to use AI to help clinicians more easily identify high-risk patients.
By analysing patient data, an AI model could propose the most suitable ward for a patient to be on, those at most immediate risk of deterioration, and when someone should be discharged or not. The 16 projects aim to deliver findings by the end of March.
Professor Cathie Sudlow, chief scientist at HDR, said they would hone in on “key pain points” in the NHS.
“By using existing data, research teams, and infrastructure, these projects are able to respond rapidly to evolving pressures on the NHS,” she added.
Each of the projects has been partnered with analysts in the Department of Health, which sponsored the plans; the Office for National Statistics; and the UK Health Security Agency.
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