Doctors trial AI tool to process patient letters


UK software provider Advanced is working with researchers at The University of Manchester and AI specialist Spectra Analytics to develop a tool that will process clinical correspondence in primary care using artificial intelligence.

The Docman10X software – a new version of its existing healthcare software Docman10 – will be able to automatically read patient letters, and only show correspondence to doctors that its algorithms think need further action.

A number of doctors have agreed to take part in the first set of testing, which began this month, and Advanced is now inviting other practices across the UK to join its early adopter programme.

Dr Benjamin Brown, a primary care doctor in Salford and researcher at The University of Manchester is leading the project. He has been a user of Docman for over 10 years and believes AI can help primary care providers triage letters which currently place a huge burden on administrative staff.

“Primary care practices receive hundreds of letters each day. These figures are likely to increase as clinical services that were delayed as a result of Covid-19 start to pick up again” Brown explains. “While doctors can’t reduce their workload, they can change the way they work.

“Around 80-90 per cent of letters can be processed without involving doctors, and only showing letters to GPs that actually need their input could save time that could be better spent doing other things. AI may be a cost-effective way of doing this. By automating the triage of letters, not only could we see a significant time saving for staff, but also potentially increase patient safety by speeding up how quickly doctors can action letters that actually need their input.”

Docman10X will officially launch to existing Docman customers at a virtual event in February. “We have some incredibly exciting plans to launch and further develop our Docman10X solution in 2021” comments Ric Thompson, Managing Director Health & Care, at Advanced.

“Our technology is already proving to reduce the administrative burden, but there is more that can be done. We are developing an AI solution that, for the first time, will enable doctors to automate both repetitive and time-consuming tasks so they can instead spend more time on what they’ve spent years training to do – consulting with patients and providing the best possible care. For primary care, we believe Docman10X will be unrivalled in the market.”