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AI-based chatbot to help reduce waiting times for headache patients

Date: 28 July 2022

In partnership with Tata Consultancy Services, The Walton Centre is developing a digital solution is being developed to reduce waiting times for patients, enhance the patient experience and increase the productivity of specialists.

To begin with, the two organisations will focus on transforming the experience for outpatient referrals to neurologists. According to The Walton Centre, patients with headaches make up the largest number of such referrals, with a three-month average waiting period to be seen by a consultant. TCS will develop an innovative artificial intelligence-based chatbot, which could transform the way headache patients are diagnosed and treated at the centre in Liverpool.

The chatbot will interact with patients being referred to a neurology or headache specialist and collect details of their condition and the symptoms through a structured set of questions. This will be used to compile a detailed medical history which clinicians can review before the first appointment with that patient and recommend a further course of action.

Depending on the clinician’s assessment, a patient may be put on a fast-track to be examined by a consultant or offered guidance on alleviating symptoms while they await their turn. The chatbot will reduce the need for specialist consultants, whose time is very scarce, to spend their first appointment asking those questions. This will enhance their productivity and help bring down the waiting time for patients. The chatbot will also provide useful information to the patient to help them prepare for, and get the best out of their first appointment.

The solution, which will be developed as a prototype, will leverage cloud native, serverless technologies and conversational AI, to ensure clinical safety and effectiveness.

Dr Anita Krishnan, Divisional Clinical Director for Neurology, The Walton Centre, and a Consultant Neurologist specialising in headaches, said: “Technology is a huge part of medicine and it’s exciting to work with TCS to create a new artificial intelligence-based solution which will help our patients. The chatbot system also has potential to be extended into other areas of medicine, which could benefit even more patients. We are working closely with TCS and our other specialist partners to ensure the new solution is effective and safe and improves efficiency and patient outcomes.”

Shalini Mathur, Business Unit Head, Public Services for UK, Europe & ANZ, TCS, said: “We are pleased to partner with The Walton Centre to transform patient care in UK using next-gen technologies. These technologies and solutions will help reduce waiting times for patients while improving the productivity of specialist consultants. This creates a blueprint for similar digital innovation in other clinical settings.”

  • Summary:

    In partnership with Tata Consultancy Services, The Walton Centre is developing a digital solution is being developed to reduce waiting times for patients, enhance the patient experience and increase the productivity of specialists.