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Automated telemedicine for cataract surgery follow-up

This project will develop evidence that will support the safe deployment of Ufonia’s automated telemedicine platform to deliver calls to cataract surgery patients at two large NHS hospital trusts. 

Ufonia proposes to replace routine clinical follow-up with DORA – a natural-language AI assistant delivered via a regular telephone call. The solution doesn’t require patients to download any application, be provided with any device or receive any training. They simply receive a call and have a conversation just as they would have done with a clinician. DORA is a like-for-like replacement for existing operational processes. It removes repetitive work, allowing clinicians to be deployed to higher value activities. 

The first clinical scenario DORA is being built for is follow-up after cataract surgery. Cataract surgery is the most common operation in NHS hospitals (450,000 cases per year) and demand is putting significant strain on resource-constrained services. 

The prototype system is being deployed at Buckinghamshire Healthcare NHS Trust. The new study will implement DORA at Imperial College Healthcare Trust and Oxford University Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust to evaluate the agreement of DORA’s decision with an expert clinician. We will also test the acceptability of the solution for patients and clinicians and assess the health economic benefit. 

This independent research is funded by the National Institute for Health Research (Artificial Intelligence, Autonomous Telemedicine – Cataract Surgery Follow-up at Two NHS Trusts, AI_AWARD 01852) and NHSX.