'A leading hospital has developed artificial intelligence to predict which patients are most likely to miss appointments.
University College Hospital in London created an algorithm using records from 22,000 appointments for MRI scans, allowing it to identify 90% of those patients who would turn out to be no-shows. The machine intelligence is not perfect – it also incorrectly flags about half of patients attending appointments as being at risk of not showing.
However, even an imprecise indication of which patients will attend could save hospitals vast sums of money and help cut waiting times.
“On average we estimate this could save £2-3 per appointment,” said Parashkev Nachev, a consultant neurologist at UCLH, who helped develop the tool. “Given that a big hospital could have nearly a million scheduled events per year, that could potentially be a lot of resource.”
UCLH plans to roll out a new system, based on the AI, to target patients most likely to be unreliable with phone calls by the end of the year.
The project is part of a broader programme at UCLH that aims to bring the benefits of the machine-learning revolution to the NHS. As part of a partnership with the Turing Institute, in London, the hospital is exploring the potential for using artificial intelligence to take over a range of tasks traditionally performed by doctors, nurses and administrative staff, including diagnosing cancer on CT scans and deciding which A&E patients are seen first.'
Read more: Hospital develops AI to identify patients likely to skip appointments
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