London AI startup Faculty partners with NHS to make better predictions for patients’ requirements

Faculty Image credits: Faculty

Faculty, a London-based AI startup has partnered with NHS England & NHS Improvement to help enhance NHS AI forecasting and predicting capabilities. This new partnership puts learnings from COVID-19 data response into practice across NHS and will help improve services as well as care delivery for patients.

Partnership with NHS

Recently, Faculty won a tender to work with NHS as a partner to make better predictions about the future requirements of patients. This is based on the data insights acquired during the pandemic crisis. As a leading applied AI specialist, the company will support the NHS’ in-house data science teams to build machine learning tools that leverage Faculty’s unique pre-built technology applications. These include its AI safety and explainability tools. Further, Faculty will support the NHS team to get the most value out of these advanced AI tools and train NHS analysts as part of the partnership.

Also, as a result of the new partnership, NHS will be able to capitalise on its success to date using AI and enable its team to build and deepen their capabilities. Faculty and the NHS will address new areas where AI forecasting tools can improve service delivery and patient care, be it understanding and predicting A&E demand and winter pressures.

Faculty’s latest explainability techniques help users to understand and interpret how each input, such as past hospital admissions or local testing data, influences the outcome of the forecast. This new partnership also provides continued support with the running and utilisation of the current EWS tool alongside the NHS team. It will assist with machine learning operations (MLOps) ensuring these models remain safe and high-performing. The new partnership will continue to strengthen Faculty’s Health and Life Sciences offer as well.

First-of-its-kind AI tool

As part of the data response to the pandemic, Faculty will work with NHS to develop the Early Warning System (EWS). This first-of-its-kind AI tool is based on Bayesian hierarchical modelling. It uses aggregate data such as COVID-19 positive case numbers, 111 calls, and mobility data to warn hospitals about potential spikes in cases so they can divert staff, beds, and vital equipment needed. Currently, around 1,000 users of the forecasts across the NHS use the outputs for their own analysis and help inform the prioritisation of safe care delivery for patients on a daily basis.

The techniques applied in the EWS allow forecasts to use specific information from that trust and incorporate a broader set of contextual information that impacts the forecast. This allows the EWS to incorporate much more relevant information into the forecasts for individual trusts than was previously possible.

Partner for NHS AI Lab

The newly developed and existing AI forecasting tools will all be delivered through the Faculty Platform, which is a best-in-class, secure, open data science environment for building and deploying AI software.

Founded by Angie Ma, Marc Warner, Andrey Brookes in 2014, Faculty also supported NHSX as a partner for the NHS AI Lab, where it recently supported the development of the National Covid-19 Chest Imaging Database (NCCID). It has over 40,000 images helping to improve the diagnosis of COVID-19 symptoms and enabling fast, accurate, early diagnoses that can be critical for treating patients and saving lives.

In December 2019, Faculty raised $10.5 million (nearly £8 million) in Series A funding round led by UK-based VCs Local Globe, GMG Ventures, and, Jaan Tallinn, one of Skype’s founding engineers. With this round, the company reached a valuation of around $100 million. Also, in 2020, it was awarded a £2.3m contract from NHSX to help run the NHS Covid-19 Data Store.