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Hospitals use AI healthcare to prioritise surgery patients

Now the worst of the COVID-19 pandemic is (hopefully) over, healthcare workers will begin on the backlog of healthcare treatments which were reduced to a lower priority - now with the added power of AI. 

Using AI to support hospital workers provide the best healthcare

Hospitals can use AI technology to help save surgeons time, by accurately prioritising which patients need surgical procedures most urgently. 

C2-Ai, founded in 2008 and headquartered in Cambridge, England, is one such AI company which offers a range of hospital care efficiency improvement tools, such as CRAB, Patient List Triage, Observatory & Compass.

One model pioneered by clinicians and operational teams at St Helens and Knowsley Teaching Hospitals NHS Trust, uses C2-Ai, to help surgeons accurately prioritise patients, according to their specific clinical needs. It uses hospital data to risk stratify a care system’s waiting list. It does this based on the risks faced by patients’, such as mortality and morbidity risks, and the risk of waiting longer for surgery. 

For those who have applied the model, surgeons have noticed a range of benefits, including:

  • 8% reduction of emergency admissions from waiting list patients
  • 125 bed-days saved for every 1,000 patients on the list as a result of reduced avoidable harm
  • A 27.1% reduction in patients waiting more than 52 weeks
  • 30% reduction in surgeon time spent on triage

AI is an equitable way to deliver healthcare

“As a surgeon, I want to make sure I have the right patient, in the right place at the right time,” said Professor Rowan Pritchard Jones, a surgeon and medical director at St Helens and Knowsley Teaching Hospitals NHS Trust, and clinical lead for the Cheshire & Merseyside Elective Recovery and Transformation Programme. “Through the Cheshire and Mersey model and our work with C2-Ai, surgeons have granular intelligence to plan our workforce, reduce the admin burden, and prioritise patients. I can quickly identify the patients with the most to gain when we intervene, and I can bring forward patients who have most to lose by waiting longer.

“I know the risk of a patient having an operation now. I can evidence decisions about where to send patients for surgery to avoid risk of harm, and make better decisions with patients. And I know the risk of not doing an operation. I can identify groups of patients at greater risk of deterioration whilst on the waiting list, who may have very worse outcomes if they present as an emergency.

“I feel far more comfortable as a clinician working on each patient’s individual risk. Some can wait well, others can’t. This is a far more equitable way to deliver care.”

“This powerful new tool is based on proven technology already in use in the NHS and in hospitals around the world, where we are helping hospitals understand and respond to risks,” said Dr Mark Ratnarajah, a practicing paediatrician and UK managing director at C2-Ai. “In this new application to risk stratifying patients on waiting lists, there is real potential to help the NHS clear the elective backlog more quickly. It is helping to ensure patients are prioritised fairly and safely for important operations as demand continues to rise.

“Clinical professionals in Cheshire and Merseyside are showing that the most significant change in surgical waiting list management in a generation is possible now – and it is extremely encouraging to see growing interest in the work they have started.”

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