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AI Case Study

The UK NHS reduces costs by providing healthcare triage advice via a virtual assistant mobile app

The NHS in West Midlands has trialled a healthcare mobile app, Ask NHS, to alleviate pressure on NHS resources. The app has both a chatbot and 'virtual assistant' interface which utilises NLP to interact with users, and provides both triage and symptom treatments as well as allows users to book GP appointments. The result has been directing users to various NHS services at a reduced cost.



Healthcare Providers And Services

Project Overview

The Ask NHS app, being trialled in West Midlands, enables users to book GP appointments and check symptoms either via voice or text. "The app uses Sensely’s Learning Engine and Advanced’s Clinical Decision Support (CDS) technology Odyssey and complies fully with the clinical safety regulations for software... The cost per digital self-care transaction is a fraction of that of traditional 111 telephony services. In addition, Ask NHS’s ability to collect patient symptom information and then transfer this information to third party 111 providers allows 111 providers to avoid the time-consuming function of asking a series of detailed questions over the phone."

Reported Results

"Nearly two-thirds (63%) of the completed ‘Ask NHS’ symptom checker outcomes led to a recommendation to contact 111, 14% to schedule a GP appointment, 12% to follow self-care advice, and 12% to call 999 at a fraction of the costs of traditional services."


Symptom advice and triaging on the app "is based on the NHS Pathways clinical algorithms used for the existing national 111 telephone service" according to The BMJ. This is done using a "probability score based on bayesian logic". Natural language processing is used


Customer Service



"The NHS is under increasing pressure with reduced budgets and spiralling demand... Odyssey has been helping the NHS assess patients safely for many years. Now, we have an app that allows patients in the West Midlands to assess themselves prior to calling 111. It’s simple – less trips to a GP or A&E saving the NHS valuable time and freeing up resources."


Cost - Reduced waiting times,Cost - Process simplification,Cost - Job automation,Cost - Optimise resource allocation


Text and voice inputs from users.

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