Supply and demand
Cataract surgery is the most common operation in the UK, with the NHS seeing 450,000 procedures every year and the number of patients with cataracts set to double by 2050. With high levels of patient safety and few complications, cataract surgery still requires post-operative checks to monitor complications and assess success. This is normally done with face-to-face appointments. Not only do these appointments add pressure to already stretched services but they are also high-risk for virus transmission due to the proximity of clinicians and patients.
Artificial intelligence, in the form of conversational agents, presents a possible opportunity to enable efficiencies in the delivery of care.
AI technology to enhance care
The 'Autonomous Telemedicine' project aims to evaluate the effectiveness, usability and acceptability of DORA, comparing to an expert human clinician.
It is funded by an Artificial Intelligence in Health and Care Award (part of the NHS Artificial Intelligence Lab managed by the Accelerated Access Collaborative in partnership with NHSX and the National Institute for Health and Care Research (NIHR) and will be evaluated by Dr Edward Meinert and his team at the University's Centre for Health Technology.
A standard of care
Dr Meinert and his team are evaluating: the efficacy of DORA’s decision making in comparison to an expert human clinician; baseline sensitivity and specificity for detection of true complications; evaluation of patient acceptability; evidence for cost-effectiveness; and they are capturing data that may support further studies.
Results are expected to be published in 2022.
Reduce the burden, benefit the patient
For the patient, it is hoped this intervention will be accessible for an older demographic as it doesn't require patients to download applications, be provided with any device or receive any training. They receive a call and have a conversation just as they would have done with a human clinician. It will mean they do not need to travel to hospital and can arrange a call for a convenient time.
Dr Edward Meinert
Dr Edward Meinert is Associate Professor of eHealth at the University of Plymouth. A chartered engineer, European Engineer, a Fellow of the British Computer Society and Chartered Management Institute, Edward was previously Sir David Cooksey Fellow in Healthcare Translation at the University of Oxford.
With extensive experience in data science, his research focuses on the use of digital technology in healthcare including mobile digital apps, wearables, robotics and clinical artificial intelligence with a primary aim to enable preventive healthcare.
Find out more about Dr Meinert.
Centre for Health Technology
Bringing together digital health and health technology expertise from across the University to drive the development, evaluation and implementation of innovative technologies, products, services and approaches to transform health and social care.