The AI system will identify those most at risk and reduce pressure on the NHS

The NHS has announced that it is trialling an artificial intelligence (AI) system to help boost NHS winter responses and prevent avoidable admissions to hospitals.

The system will help identify patients most at risk, reduce pressure on A&Es and prioritise patients most in need.

Four GP practices in Somerset are currently trialling the AI system, which identifies patients with complex health needs, those at risk of hospital admission or who rarely contact their GP.

Health coaches, nurses and GPs will contact those most at risk to provide several preventative care options, including offering vulnerable patients food parcels, escalating care to specialist doctors, providing support to prevent falls, or providing access to local voluntary groups to help avoid loneliness.

Patients can decide whether they want to benefit from these options.

The new approach follows recent data, which portrays the significant pressure that the NHS is currently facing as it heads into the winter period.

The data showed that October was the busiest on record for A&E departments and ambulance services.

So far, in Buckinghamshire, the NHS has been using AI linked to electronic sensors on kettles and fridges to monitor patients’ eating and drinking habits, which involve a non-clinical

Onward Care team who speak to patients, solving 95% of their issues or escalating anything clinical.

Additionally, NHS teams in Birmingham have been piloting an algorithm to predict the top 5% at risk of potential hospital attendances and admissions to prevent 4,500 unnecessary A&E visits, 17,000 overnight hospital stays and free up around 23,000 GP appointments over the next two years.

NHS England director of system transformation, Matt Neligan, said: “Using joined-up data across integrated care systems gives us a much deeper insight into the full range of needs for different population groups and the drivers of health inequalities.”

Neligan added that by using tools and techniques like AI and a population health management approach, the NHS is “increasingly able to find those individuals early and offer targeted, preventative and personalised healthcare”.