Transformation digital pathway will deploy AI to cardiac services in emergency departments in Scotland
The University of Edinburgh, Edinburgh Napier University, NHS Lothian, and Lenus Health have come together to deliver a transformational digital health pathway supported by Wellcome Leap that will deploy artificial intelligence to support cardiac care in emergency departments.
The agreement draws on the world-class data science work at the University of Edinburgh made possible by DataLoch, which securely stores and links real-time healthcare data from both primary and secondary care settings; the expertise in digital co-design from Edinburgh Napier University; and the Lenus disease management platform, deployed across NHS Scotland, to house and operationalise the models in live point-of-care clinical workflows.
Today, there are seven and a half million annual emergency department visits in the UK where patients cite chest pain or severe breathlessness.
And patients arriving with these symptoms must be quickly evaluated for acute cardiac disease, the leading cause of death worldwide.
However, rapid and accurate diagnosis is often challenging with acute cardiac disease frequently indistinguishable from benign conditions.
For patients with acute chest pain or breathlessness due to a heart attack or heart failure, early diagnosis and treatment saves lives
For this reason, around 20% of patients receiving acute cardiac care return to the emergency department within 30 days of their initial attendance, which places a significant burden on NHS resources and means that the patient has been delayed receiving effective treatment.
By digitally delivering the most-relevant clinical data and predictive analytics directly to emergency care teams, the project aims to prevent at least one in five of those 30-day reattendances.
Nick Mills, British Heart Foundation professor of cardiology at the University of Edinburgh, said: “For patients with acute chest pain or breathlessness due to a heart attack or heart failure, early diagnosis and treatment saves lives.
“Unfortunately, many conditions cause these common symptoms, and the diagnosis is not always straight forward.
“Harnessing data and artificial intelligence to support clinical decisions has enormous potential to improve care for patients and efficiency in our busy emergency departments.”
Alasdair Gray, consultant and honorary professor of emergency medicine at the Royal Infirmary of Edinburgh, added: “Chest pain is one of the most-common problems presenting to Scottish emergency departments.
Harnessing data and artificial intelligence to support clinical decisions has enormous potential to improve care for patients and efficiency in our busy emergency departments
“This work, being developed in collaboration with patients and NHS staff, has the potential to improve substantially the care for chest pain patients, not just in the emergency department, but also in the months following hospital discharge”.
And Paul McGinness, chief executive of Lenus Health, said: “The Lenus disease management platform is rolled out across major health boards covering 68% of the Scottish population and is uniquely able to develop and deploy both in-house and third-party AI models.
“Supporting frontline NHS staff and cardiac patients by delivering data and AI insights in the emergency department builds on the company’s ambition to reduce the acute care demands associated with long-term conditions that are currently overwhelming health systems through earlier and more-efficient diagnoses of imprecise symptoms such as chest pain and breathlessness.”