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NIHR backed AI care planning network goes live

30 May 2022

NIHR backed AI care planning network goes live

English healthcare providers are now able to join a network that uses crowd sourced data to shape care plans. Healum, an artificial intelligence-based App, uses data that patients have chosen to share in order to personalise care recommendations and improve clinical decision making.

The App was developed in a partnership between the National Institute for Health Research (NIHR), community interest company Vernova, tech firm Healum, Manchester Clinical Research Network and part funded by UK Research and Innovation.

Described by the partners as a ‘live learning network’, Healum collects long term health condition data, which is used to train the artificial intelligence (AI) algorithms. The algorithms are then used by clinical professionals to help them make treatment decisions. As a network, Healum is open to healthcare providers as well as researchers whose patients are willing to share data so that treatment methods are studied and understood.

With funding from UK Research and Innovation (UKRI), Healum has been in development for five years. UKRI backed the development of the App as it fits with the government’s Data Saves Lives strategy, announced in June 2021. 

The development process involved a trial with type 2 diabetes patients in 27 practices in London and East Cheshire. Patients in the trial opened 98% of the messages they received from healthcare professionals via the App. As a result, 50% of those patients used the personalised resources and goals set for them to achieve a reduction in HBA1C (the average blood glucose levels for the last two to three months).

This test enabled the validation of the underlying AI technology and its creation of the personalised care recommendations, demonstrated high levels of trust, efficacy and transparency of the data that the trial members were sharing. 

“A key challenge in long-term condition management is to have a sense of how the past and current health profile of a person can best inform care plan choices for the future,” said Dr Adrian Heald, Chief Investigator of the UKRI study and Consultant Physician in Diabetes and Endocrinology.

“We often find ourselves scratching our heads to know what the next best step in long-term condition management is. Any intelligence as to the best options, at the point of care, will only serve to help healthcare professionals to improve patient outcomes,” Heald said of how patients, alongside their primary and secondary care professionals, use the application to co-create the care plan.

Patients with long-term conditions, such as diabetes and heart disease, are able to join the network and share their data, with full control over how they share their health information with clinicians and researchers, Healum claims. The Salford headquartered business also claims patients will be able to influence AI development.