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Gathering NHS feedback on automated telemedicine

NHS England Priorities and Operational Planning Guidance [2023/2024] stated that organisations should focus on reducing outpatient appointments by 25%.  The intention being to redirect clinical resources to tackle waiting lists and priority high risk cohorts.

Ufonia, a medical technology company, have developed an Artificial Intelligence (AI) product which can support the workforce to work differently.  Their telemedicine product called “Dora” has been programmed to undertake routine telephone calls with patients.  It has been designed to make care more convenient, reliable, and consistent for patients, increase hospital capacity and release clinicians to spend more time meeting patients’ needs. Dora automates clinical conversations previously had by clinicians for pre-assessment as well as postoperative follow up. After Dora’s assessment if no clinical concerns are identified the patient does not require routine clinician review.

NHS England South East approached Ufonia to collaborate together on the above priority within the cataract pathway.

This scoping review was undertaken throughout 2023 with six NHSE foundation trusts in the South East.  Senior leaders and clinicians involved in the cataract pathway were interviewed around the pre and post implementation.

Throughout the interviews five ingredients to improve adoption and innovation was observed.  These are in line with current literature.

  • Understanding the local context
  • Building relationships between the technology provider and organisation
  • Senior leaders’ engagement from the executive board and clinicians
  • Open communication between companies and NHS organisations including staff involved in the pathway
  • Sustainability of the technology in the clinical pathway through business planning.

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