Innovation by healthcare tech experts has been recognised with special awards at a BCS conference this month.

Exciting projects which saw artificial intelligence to identify patients with asthma and robotic automation to help GP practices save time, received awards at the event.

GPs, suppliers and IT professionals working in health gathered in Harrogate for the conference hosted by the Primary Health Care Specialist Group, part of BCS, the Chartered Institute for IT.

Delegates heard from inspirational speakers, shared the latest developments on digital technology in healthcare and recognised achievement with awards for innovation.

Improving asthma treatment

The John Perry award for innovation was won by a team from Data Care Solutions (DCS) led by Dr Jay Verma for their work examining the ‘Application of machine learning in identifying patients with asthma.’

Dr Jay Verma and team receiving John Perry Award

The John Perry Prize recognises innovation and excellence in primary care computing or informatics and is awarded to those who have made an outstanding contribution to the subject.

Miriam Lemar, Chair of the PHCSG, said; 'I’m delighted that Jay and his team won this prestigious award. They’ve shown how digital innovation can make a real difference to the treatment of asthma.

'Machine Learning (ML) methods were shown to be more accurate and save time in identifying appropriate patients and improving patient care. It was a real team effort requiring a mixture of ML, data analytics, organisational and clinical skills.'

Saving time for GPs

Dr Verma is GP partner at Shakespeare Health Centre in Hayes and Director of Data Care Solutions, a healthcare analytics organisation. He has worked on innovative projects to use digital technology to automate administrative and clinical processes and optimise electronic health records.

The PHCSG Early Career Award was presented to Divyesh Vala for his work on GP Automate which uses Robotic Process Automation (RPA) to automate routine practice administrative tasks and is already bringing financial benefits and saving time and funding for GPs.

Divyesh Vala receiving the Early Career Award

The initial results are exciting with, for example, new patient registration completed in 1.5 minutes versus the 30-40 mins it is currently estimated to take. The technology holds the possibility of improving productivity and releasing time for practices to focus on patient care.

Divyesh is a recent post-graduate in MSc Data Science and Analytics with specialised interest in Artificial Intelligence who has worked on community-focussed software projects in healthcare.

'Competition was very strong with marks being awarded for the final presentation by the judging panel. We are delighted that Divyesh has won and hope he has a long and illustrious career in digital health,' said Miriam Lemar.

For you

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The 41st Annual PHCSG conference took the theme; Bridging the Gap between Knowledge and Better Care.

Researchers, academics, suppliers, practice managers, clinical informaticians and GPs attended and heard about the latest ways to use technology effectively in general practice, Primary Care Networks (PCNs) and other health settings.

Keynote speakers share innovation

The conference welcomed keynote speakers, Professor Niels Peek from University of Manchester who spoke about precision medicine and prediction models, and Professor Jack Dowie from London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine who discussed how Artificial Intelligence, Clinical Intelligence are used in Multi-criteria Decision Support.

The conference was preceded with a free education day on Improving Primary Care Digital Health on Thursday 10 November which was an opportunity for those who work in general practice to learn about ways of improving IT issues, from managing patient record access to cyber security.

The BCS PHCSG is aimed at people who work in primary care or research, supply tech into primary care, or are analysts with an interest in primary care.

The group discusses the issues/challenges and aims to develop good practice in primary care informatics and influence policy-makers to ensure the effective application of informatics for the benefit of patients.

New members are always welcome. To find out more contact chair@phcsg.org.