Bournemouth University has teamed up with ImproveWell, a real-time feedback solution for staff to improve health and care, to use Artificial Intelligence (AI) to turn NHS frontline workers’ feedback into digestible evidence to support decision-making for the first time.

ImproveWell is a digital platform that collects real-time feedback from NHS workers on changes that could improve staff and patient experience. Currently, these data are displayed thematically to tell teams what changes are being suggested and how staff morale is tracking.

An Innovate UK grant has enabled Bournemouth University and ImproveWell to enter into a Knowledge Transfer Partnership (KTP) to develop bespoke AI models for the platform, building on existing data science and business intelligence capability.

ImproveWell’s aggregated Quality Improvement dataset has grown in partnership with more than 60 NHS organisations. This KTP will allow the platform to provide AI-powered data insights, enabling teams to quickly identify the most promising ideas and frequently reported challenges, and analyse characteristics that make ideas successful. This will help ensure valuable 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 toback 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 Knowledge Transfer Partnership involves Bournemouth’s soon-to-be PhD, Rantilini Samaratunga, working with ImproveWell for a two-year term. 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.”

ImproveWell is a platform that helps NHS organisations to tailor the way that real-time frontline feedback is collected, quickly identifying areas for improvement as well as suggested solutions based on needs at a local or organisational level. It captures suggestions from employees at all levels, and so encourages tangible, achievable improvement ideas to be put forward that often require no or little funding.

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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