Coronavirus – On The Ward With AI

Healthcare innovators are responding to the pressing threat of Covid-19

For innovative companies, one of the best things about being in business is responding to changing demands and needs. Never has this been more true than today, with government asking for the support of individual companies in the fight against coronavirus. As you might expect, many are answering their call.

One such business is Zenzium – based at Bruntwood SciTech’s Alderley Park site near Manchester – a health and biomedical data science company which applies AI to chronic disease management.

All in for AI

Founder Anthony Bashall and team were in talks with the NHS about improving oncology treatment when the Covid-19 pandemic struck. They saw the opportunity to apply their model to the virus, using AI to predict how and when patients are likely to deteriorate, and when they should be transferred from a ward to intensive care, for example.

This relies on data collected from consumer and medical devices which monitor patients. When AI algorithms are applied to this data, they find correlations, teasing out the common patterns of the disease. They can then use this information to make predictions – enabling medical staff to conflate this with their own judgement, to decide on the best course of action for treating their patients.

This is not only a huge milestone for cancer and Covid-19 treatment, but can be applied to a whole host of serious diseases such as chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), sepsis, endometriosis, and stroke.

“If you can predict something that is going to happen in the future, you can take action, and hopefully prevent it or mitigate it to improve patient outcomes,” Bashall says.

“We’re starting our pilot study for Covid-19 in the next couple of weeks, which will find out if our algorithm is valid. When this finishes around September time we’ll then go into the next phase with a larger study of patients, to prove that the technology can actually improve patient outcomes. Normally these trials take much longer to complete, so we’re working at an accelerated pace to help the treatment of this disease.”

The company is also focusing on a mental health app for Covid, for self-isolating people and those who are vulnerable at home. This will use AI to create a self-learning system capable of customising advice and support to each individual.

Could your business feature here? If you’re an innovative digital business in the north of England, we want to hear from you.