NHS strikes £1m deal with another AI company

Artificial Intelligence

Health IT start-up secures £1m funding from NHS England through the Small Business Research Initiative

[Edinburgh, UK] An Artificial Intelligence (AI) start-up has signed a £1m contract with NHS England through the Small Business Research Initiative (SBRI) to fund two clinical studies with NHS Fife and NHS Lothian’s Emergency Medicine Research Group Edinburgh.

“Artificial intelligence technology is becoming more and more powerful, and will play an increasing role in healthcare over the coming years,” said Karen Livingstone, National Director for SBRI Healthcare.

SBRI, an NHS England scheme that supports the uptake of innovation across the healthcare system, led by 15 Academic Health Science Networks (AHSN), announced in December last year that five companies would receive £4.3m in funding for further developments of their technologies, as reported in BJ-HC.

The five start-ups were initially given ‘feasibility funding’ in March to use the latest discoveries in healthcare technology to reduce some of the current pressures that A&E departments face.

Last week, the British Medical Association (BMA) said the NHS will need £9.5bn to deliver the 44 Sustainability and Transformation Plans (STPs), arguing that the healthcare system has now gotten to a ‘breaking point’.

Tackling NHS challenges through AI

Snap40, the AI start-up, is said to be using a predictive analytics software to identify patients that are at high risk of deterioration, with a wearable device that monitors vital signs, using data to determine the level of risk.

“In an ideal world, we’d all have our own dedicated doctor sitting with us, 24 hours a day, seven days a week. But, with increasing pressure on healthcare systems and challenges in prioritising competing demands, access to doctors and nurses is at a premium,” added Christopher McCann, snap40’s Co-founder and CEO.

DeepMind, Google’s AI hub, is also piloting a similar app, Streams, across two NHS organisations, Royal Free London NHS Foundation Trust and Imperial College Healthcare NHS Trust.

These partnerships have raised concerns about privacy of data, although DeepMind Co-founder Mustafa Suleyman revealed in December that the company is working on developing a system that would track any interference with patient data after the New Scientist revealed that nearly 1.6 million records of NHS patients were given for the development of the Streams app.