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London hospital trust partners with Microsoft to research AI

University College London Hospitals and Microsoft Research will collaborate on applying AI to improve patient care

|Mar 22|magazine5 min read

One of London's largest hospital trusts has announced a new strategic partnership with Microsoft, which will enable them to develop and apply advances in artificial intelligence and other digital technologies to help them improve the delivery of healthcare. 

University College London Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust (UCLH) will collaborate with Microsoft Research to develop AI algorithms and applications which will be tested and deployed at the hospital to assess data-driven improvements in efficiency, patient safety, experience and outcomes. Until now, most AI-driven algorithms have been developed remotely from the environment in which they are designed to be deployed. 

The teams will be working on specific projects, including evaluating the use of machine learning models to help with the allocation of hospital resources, manage patient demand, adapt to emerging care pressures, and augment and accelerate clinicians’ ability to perform radiotherapy planning for certain types of cancer.

One of the first projects will see UCLH and Microsoft explore how AI can be used to predict hour by hour fluctuations in demand for acute hospital care in hospitals. By doing this researchers hope to reduce the strain on hospital resources and improve patient outcomes, while looking after the wellbeing of staff.

Additionally, UCLH will leverage Microsoft’s open-source InnerEye technology to build and refine its own proprietary medical imaging AI models, designed to automate time-consuming radiotherapy preparations and speed up cancer treatment.  

Professor Marcel Levi, UCLH chief executive, commented on the new partnership: “Recent experience of the pandemic has demonstrated the importance of being able to quickly adapt to ensure that our clinical expertise remains focused on providing the best possible patient care. 

"The collaboration with Microsoft provides UCLH with the opportunity to harness the most innovative technologies to develop and enhance what we do. Machines will never replace clinicians and staff, but the use of data, expertise and technology can radically change how we manage our services – for the better.”

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