An NHS hospital trust in London has joined forces with Google to help save more lives.
The Royal Free Hospital has partnered with the tech giant’s artificial intelligence company, DeepMind to share patient data. It is thought that this could save over half a million hours per year that are currently spent on paperwork. This time can then be directed towards patient care.
Under a five-year agreement, DeepMind will be working with Barnet, Chase Farm, and Royal Free Hospitals using a mobile app called Streams. This app will initially alert clinicians to patients with signs of acute kidney injury at its earliest stages.
Whilst privacy campaigners are concerned about data breaches that could affect the 1.6million patients whose information will be shared, both parties have said that all data will be encrypted and will not be shared with Google.
The app will be rolled out at the beginning of 2017, and if successful will also be used to detect other life-threatening illnesses.
Doctors and nurses currently have to look through patient notes to build a picture of a patient’s health over time; they’ll now be able to quickly and easily access that information. When any results are unusual, an alert will sound.
David Sloman, chief executive of the Royal Free London, said: “Doctors and nurses currently spend far too much time on paperwork, and we believe this technology could substantially reduce this burden, enabling doctors and nurses to spend more time on what they do best – treating patients.”
DeepMind co-founder Mustafa Suleyman said: “Our nurses and doctors are still wrestling with pagers and paper-based systems to save lives.
“We’re working with the Royal Free to give clinicians the information they need at their fingertips, saving time and alerting them to patients in need in seconds not hours.
“Privacy and trust are paramount, and we’re holding ourselves to an unprecedented level of oversight.”
Patients will be able to opt out of any data-sharing system simply by emailing their NHS Trust’s data protection officer. DeepMind is not currently set to make any money out of the app, however they will be looking to monetise the app once it has been proven to work effectively.