AI-powered big data analysis is thought to have huge potential when it comes to developing the next generations of biotechnology treatments for illnesses, diseases and conditions. However, AI systems are also now being harnessed by a large NHS hospital in Bradford to increase operational efficiency. A partnership has been established with GE Healthcare, the medtech unit of General Electric, and Bradford Teaching Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust that has seen an AI-powered ‘command centre’ created in the Bradford Royal Infirmary.
The system, which looks a little like an air-traffic control centre, compiles and analyses feeds from all of the different data systems in the hospital with AI algorithms in real time. Staff, facilities and equipment systems data, digital patient files, budgets and every other hospital system involving digital data, for the first time in Europe, being brought together by the GE Healthcare system. The hope is that the AI analysis of these previously independent data feeds will allow for ongoing optimisation of the hospital’s procedures and use of scarce resources to optimal effect.
Jeff Terry of GE Healthcare Partners explained to the Financial Times:
“There’s this massive ocean of data that comes out of the [electronic patient record] . . . but what’s revolutionary here is putting that data together from across all of the systems and producing some recommendations in real time.”
Some of the anticipated outputs it is hoped will result from the Bradford hospital investing in the latest technology in the world of AI include reducing patients spending unnecessary time in hospital, a reduction of A&E treatment times to a maximum of 4 hours and patients generally being treated in the wards most appropriate to their case at the time.
The GE system has already demonstrated positive results in hospitals in the USA where it has been installed. Baltimore’s Johns Hopkins Hospital has seen a 25% reduction in A&E waiting times and the waiting time for a post-surgery hospital bed by 70%.
While an upfront expense for Bradford’s NHS Trust, its chief executive Professor Clive Kay is convinced that the efficiencies it leads to will mean that it will have paid for itself within 2-3 years. With NHS resources stretched to the limit, other regional trusts will certainly be watching the Bradford case study carefully for signs that the latest technology in the world of AI will indeed represent a breakthrough in hospital administration efficiency.