ARTIFICIAL INTELLIGENCE

AI changing the face of chronic care – New digital platform unveiled by University of Southampton student making chronic care faster, safer and simpler

A new AI-driven health analytics platform with the aim of making chronic care faster, simpler and safer has been unveiled. CareIQ will not only save clinicians’ time and money but it will improve the daily lives of those living with chronic care, making them feel more in control and help find a better solution for their needs. It is one of eight of the University of Southampton’s most promising startups that unveiled technologies to make the world smarter, safer and more sustainable at the Future Worlds Virtual Demo Day.

It has been created by 25-year-old Computer Science graduate Janu Shan and co-founder, Dr. Pratheep Suntharamoorthy, and was born out of Janu’s own experience as an expert in tech and someone who suffered from 18 months of chronic pain, interrupting his studies and causing huge worry for him and his loved ones.

Janu says: “I was living a healthy lifestyle up until the age of 19 when I suddenly became very sick for no apparent reason. The doctors were stumped and nobody could work out what was wrong with me, which was hugely frustrating and upsetting for both me and my loved ones. I was sick for around 18 months and bed-bound for some of that, unable to do anything for myself, and it was only when a consultant at UCLH saw my symptoms on a video that I was given the correct drugs that improved my condition and I can now go about my daily life.

“It really made me realise the huge problems in chronic care and how this can be improved through huge advancements in technology. I wasted over a whole year of my life and time and money from the NHS on something that could have been fixed if I had immediate access to the right specialist. It’s all about information routing but the problem is, the tech and infrastructure in the NHS is currently ill-equipped to cope with chronic care and chronic disease management and that’s where CareIQ comes in.

“Today, the processing of chronic healthcare is almost entirely manual. Our active AI monitoring on patient records can enable faster chronic disease management, helping deliver personalised care for every patient, at scale, with lower costs.”

CareIQ prioritises privacy rules and only processes records of patients registered to GP clinics who are using their services as clients and consent to have their information shared.

CareIQ’s data analysis platform helps uncover clinical optimisations and track patient progress over long periods using existing patient data. Its collaborative care approach allows patients to share remote readings, such as blood pressure, to seamlessly update clinicians on their condition. AI monitoring then identifies at-risk patients to help prioritise care.

According to research, 41 million people die every year from noncommunicable diseases – that’s 71 per cent of all deaths globally and half of these are unavoidable. The NHS revealed that the 15 million people in England with long term conditions have the greatest healthcare needs of the population (50% of all GP appointments and 70% of all bed days) and their treatment and care absorbs 70% of acute and primary care budgets in England. Treatment and care for people with long-term conditions is estimated to take up around £7 in every £10 of total health and social care expenditure.

Janu adds: “Covid-19 has certainly accelerated demand and frustration and anything that can ease the increased pressure on the NHS will make a difference. Right now, the NHS is bleeding and we’re currently using a sticking plaster. We need a permanent solution. With so much time being required by patients with chronic conditions such as cancer, blood pressure problems or diabetes, and with an ageing population that’s only going to get worse, we need to use technology to help us.

“Ultimately, with CareIQ we want to save lives and reduce the physical and emotional distress that so many people are suffering. There is so much cost and time involved in chronic care; 70 per cent of hospital beds are taken up by patients living with chronic pain and as it gets worse it gets even more expensive to treat with drugs and surgeries. We want to reduce the huge amount of stress that our clinicians are living with; we’ve all seen the burnout and frustrations of staff as they battle to do their best and technology can help ease that pain.”

The startup is currently focussing on the management of hypertension, diabetes, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) and asthma. Through their web app for clinicians, they help them to visualise and manage the chronic population through built in automation. It reduces the amount of admin that GPs have to do as it churns through data and provides insight, in essence enabling doctors to spend more time in-front of patients, giving advice rather than focusing on things that a computer could do – seeing trends and acting on them.

CareIQ has been one of eight specially selected startups at the University of Southampton which has been working closely together through the Future Worlds Founders Cohort, an intensive programme accelerating startups. They took part in a Virtual Demo Day on 10th June where they pitched to a network of high impact, early stage investors ready to help launch their ideas into a global market.

Ben Clark, Director of Future Worlds at the University at Southampton said: “The founders pitching at Demo Day addressed some of the biggest challenges and most exciting opportunities in the world. I’ve no doubt investors will be impressed by their bold visions, dedication and rapid progress, and enticed by the world-changing potential they will discover.”

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