Sesui makes joint SBRI Funding bid with LCW and Queen Mary University of London

Sesui have recently made a joint bid for SBRI Funding with leading IUC provider and Sesui client LCW and the School of Electronic Engineering and Computer Science at Queen Mary, University of London. The goal of the programme is to reduce Emergency Department attendances from 111 consultations through improved communication – a Natural Language Approach

What’s the problem?

NHS 111 is the urgent health number in England, taking ~19 million calls in 2019/20 and set to increase by ~40% by January 2021 under NHS England’s “Help Us Help You” initiative. People with diverse backgrounds, knowledge, needs and expectations call 111. Therefore, an effective service relies on good communication between patient and call handler i.e. establishing shared understanding of the situation to build confidence in the advice provided. Without this, people can ignore the advice, contributing to the estimated 40% of  Emergency Department (ED) attendances that are inappropriate. 

How we propose to solve the problem:

Automated machine processing of speech and language will be applied to 111 calls. Calls from patients who followed, and did not follow, the advice to attend an ED will be compared and grouped by age (adults, young people and children). The comparison will involve automatically analysing pauses, repeats and edits during the conversation (disfluencies), and then providing a link between the disfluencies and outcomes of a call to indicate any problems with shared understanding. Advances in this technology make it possible to detect disfluencies in real-time and at scale to a) catch communication problems as they occur, b) develop targeted interventions to reduce or resolve them, c) assess communication quality across large volumes of calls for audit.

Impact and use:

This project will provide the foundations for the development of automated call audit and real-time assistance to all staff undertaking telephone triage in 111. Dissemination will be via webinars, articles, presentations and at national 111 meetings. 

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