Oxford Health BRC wins government funding for its CHRONOS project

A project using artificial intelligence to develop digital triage tools for mental health clinicians (CHRONOS) has been successful in the latest round of the Artificial Intelligence in Health and Care Award.

Oxford Health BRC wins government funding for its CHRONOS project

Oxford Health BRC was one of a handful of organisations to receive the funding, which was announced by the Health Secretary Matt Hancock on June 16. The AI Award is making £140 million available over four years to accelerate the testing and evaluation of artificial intelligence technologies which meet the aims set out in the NHS Long Term Plan.

The Award means that Oxford Health BRC will be able to develop digital tools to make it easier for clinicians in secondary mental health care to rapidly identify the most appropriate treatments for their patients. This is the first time a mental health project has received the AI Award.

Dr Andrey Kormilitzin, one of the team leading the project explained:

CHRONOS will use AI technology to examine historical, anonymised medical notes to learn how care teams make decisions about treatment for individual patients. It will be capable of processing the long, detailed descriptions found in medical records to capture a “fingerprint” of an individual’s difficulties, symptoms and needs over time. CHRONOS will use this to suggest a treatment pathway alongside an explanation of its suggestion.’

Dr Dan Joyce, another of the project leads said:

In recent years, there have been concerns that machine learning approaches can replicate biases in the procedures and systems that produce the data from which the systems learn. CHRONOS is designed differently. Its performance is explicitly evaluated in the context of its intended use supporting clinical decision making. The quality and accuracy of CHRONOS’ output will be evaluated in simulations that include clinicians from triage teams alongside patient and public representatives.’

The development of CHRONOS will be overseen throughout by patient and public stakeholders to whom the project will be accountable. This oversight will ensure transparency and will extend from curating data through to engineering decisions that will impact on directly on patient care.

Julia Hamer-Hunt, Patient and Public Involvement co-applicant on the CHRONOS project said:

Currently, accessing mental health care can be frustrated by a referral and triage process which results in people “bouncing” between different referral teams – contributing to what the Royal College of Psychiatrists call the “hidden waiting list” — the time people wait from referral to actually seeing clinicians and accessing assessment and treatment. CHRONOS will help to address this problem helping patients to access the right treatments more quickly.’

Professor Andrea Cipriani, Principal Investigator on the project said:

We are delighted to be one of the recipients of the Artificial Intelligence in Health and Care Award and look forward to developing CHRONOS to bring faster and more effective treatment to mental health patients in the NHS.’

The AI Award is one of the programmes that make up the NHS AI Lab, led by NHSX and delivered in partnership with the Accelerated Access Collaborative (AAC) and National Institute for Health Research (NIHR).

Dan Bamford, Deputy Director AI Award, Accelerated Access Collaborative, said:

Congratulations to Oxford Health BRC on their success as one of our winners in Round 2 of the AI Award. We look forward to working with them as they develop and test their technology further, so that more patients can benefit from this cutting-edge artificial intelligence.’

Dr Indra Joshi, Director of AI, NHSX, said:

With this latest round of AI Award winners, we now have an incredible breadth of expertise across a wide range of clinical and operational areas. Through this award, Oxford Health BRC will be at the forefront of applying artificial intelligence in new ways to transform health and care.’

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Published: 18 June 2021