After the success of the initial SBRI funded, online consultation product, preGP in reducing demand for GP appointments, iPLATO are now being funded to build Artificial Intelligence (AI) into the offering.
In June 2017, iPLATO Healthcare was awarded funding to develop and trial a service to improve access to primary care within the mobile app, myGP®. The company developed preGP, an intelligent care navigation system to signpost patients requesting a GP appointment onto suitable and relevant alternative primary care services that could help them depending on their needs.
According to the ‘Making Time in General Practice’ report, 27% of consultations could have been resolved by other means such as someone else within the practice, pharmacies, other services, or by simply educating and supporting patients with the right information. The first generation preGP aimed, as part of this NHS funded development, to cancel 12% of those appointments acknowledged as avoidable.
A 30-day trial within London showed that 28% of the appointments requested via the myGP app and prompted with preGP were cancelled directly by the patients, after they found alternate care, surpassing by almost 2.5 times the initial target. Translating these numbers into savings for the NHS, this equates to £2,247 per month savings for the practice and an estimated £153 million per year extrapolating the pilot results to all the practices across England.
After the proven success of preGP, SBRI has given a further grant to iPLATO to continue the programme to Phase 2. The additional funding will allow the inclusion of artificial intelligence and embedded natural language programming (NLP) to further help reduce unwanted demand.
iPLATO currently connects 18 million patients across the United Kingdom and can securely access the patient record which brings the ability to intelligently triage patients based on their history, along the primary care pathway. The immediate impacts of implementing preGP will demonstrate not only an
optimised use of resources but also a decrease in the practice workload, more efficient workflow as well as an easy way for patients to access healthcare at the right time with the right healthcare provider.
Phase 2 will include trials within 20 different practices in England and iPLATO aim to release version 2 by Q4 2018.
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 Small Business Research Initiative for Healthcare (SBRI Healthcare) is an NHS England initiative, led by the Academic Health Science Network (AHSN), who aim to promote UK economic growth whilst addressing unmet health needs and enhancing the take up of known best practice.
 Making Time in General Practice. Freeing GP capacity by reducing bureaucracy and avoidable consultations, managing the interface with hospitals and exploring new ways of working. October 2015. Prepared by Henry Clay & Rick Stern. Editorial support from Daloni Carlisle.