AI & Digital Automation

Bournemouth Uni’s new AI partnership to boost evidence-based decision making in NHS

Bournemouth University's Talbot Campus

By Sam Pither [email protected]

Published: November 29, 2023 | Updated: 29th November 2023

Bournemouth University has announced a new partnership with ImproveWell.

Bournemouth University logo

ImproveWell is a digital feedback platform for NHS staff, aiming to improve health and care.

The platform collects feedback in real-time, then displays the resulting data thematically informing teams what changes are being suggested and tracking staff morale.

Funded by an Innovate UK grant, ImproveWell and Bournemouth University will enter into a partnership to develop AI models for the platform, which will aim to provide better insights, enabling teams to quickly identify the most promising ideas and frequently reposted challenges.

The AI models will also be able to analyse characteristics which make ideas successful, with the ultimate goal of ensuring NHS resources are used effectively.

Professor Marcin Budka, Professor of Data Science at Bournemouth University, said: “There’s a real push among companies in all sectors to use AI and wider data science techniques to back decision making with solid evidence, and this has never been more crucial in healthcare when resources are so stretched.

“It’s impossible to sift through ever-growing datasets manually – there is often a will to understand data, but no easy way to.

“The AI we will build will enhance the process of finding the most crucial insights in data, and will help us see trends and other characteristics in the ideas that make the biggest difference, giving NHS leaders confidence that the ones they choose to implement will be worthwhile.”

The partnership involves Bournemouth’s soon-to-be PhD, Rantilini Samaratunga, working with ImproveWell for two years. Rantilini will bring an academic view on AI and will maintain access to Professor Budka’s team for support in developing the AI.

Rantilini said: “I feel very lucky to be able to transfer my academic knowledge to making a real-world impact in a relatively short time frame.

“I’m also looking forward to learning more about the processes and systems used in HealthTech companies that could be carried over into the university setting.”

Dr Matt Hogan, Knowledge Transfer Advisor at Innovate UK KTN, said: “Knowledge Transfer Partnerships are a powerful way of bringing academic insights into businesses in a structured way, supported by an Innovate UK grant. I am looking forward to working with the team during this KTP.”

John Masterson, Chief Technology Officer for ImproveWell, said: “By automating the analysis of the data we collect through ImproveWell, NHS teams will be able to make changes at pace and scale.

“While many apps already use AI to process language from big datasets to make meaningful analyses, we’re proud to be the first platform to develop bespoke AI technology geared towards turning suggestions from frontline workers into improvements to healthcare systems.”

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