AI aims to improve access to NHS appointments.

Deep Medical uses artificial intelligence to understand human behaviour, create efficient services, and challenge health inequality.

  • Deep Medical can predict NHS appointment non-attendance with over 90% accuracy.
  • Innovation reduces health inequalities by understanding human behaviour to remove barriers to effective healthcare, aligning with the NHS Long Term Plan.
  • Deep Medical is working with 5 NHS hospitals across 2 trusts, supporting a population of over 2 million outpatients.

Dr Benyamin Deldar is a Junior Doctor, Co-Founder at Deep Medical, and NHS Clinical Entrepreneur.

Founded in 2020, Deep Medical aims to optimise clinician time and improve patient experiences by predicting non- attendance to appointments, to get more people into urgent appointments sooner.

5.6 million patients are on the waiting list for Outpatient care*.

Whilst studying at Saint George’s University in London, Dr Deldar became interested in interventional radiology. With the use of laparoscopic surgery, imaging techniques and the decreased need for highly invasive surgery, he saw the potential of innovation in healthcare, and progressed to complete a masters in imaging sciences at Kings College.

After graduation, Dr Deldar moved to Baltimore, USA and enrolled onto a research fellowship at The Johns Hopkins Hospital, where he co-authored the Hopkins manual of Neurointervention. Conducting the research led him to return to the UK, where he completed his foundation years as a doctor and started to explore the potential of Artificial intelligence in healthcare.

Dr Deldar then met his Co-Founder David Hanbury, who, at the time, had produced a piece of work on predicting missed appointments in radiology. They both observed that some regions within the UK have greater access to healthcare services, whereas others struggled.  

Deep Medical was created in 2020 to focus on how the NHS can deliver equitable access to care, whilst evaluating if the current access is working for individuals who require more support and still valuing the clinician’s time. They started by looking at the healthcare booking process, as the majority of the population need to access this facility at some point. By improving this they could, in theory, improve access to care.

This led to the team creating an AI model called the ‘DM Schedules’ which is a web-based booking platform that can predict non-attendance, recognises different patient needs and can provide priority scheduling options to patients who are most at risk of non-attendance. It also creates intelligent backup bookings, so clinics can rely on a steady stream of appointments and manage resources efficiently. This model was proved without needing to have access to sensitive information around the patient or their health records.

The team then investigated patient behaviour, using AI to collect the variables and patients factors to maximise their access to appointments. This resulted in the development of the ‘DM connects’ patient-relationship management tool which uses insights to drive attendance, equips clinics with SMS and call lists, allows targeted messaging for specific groups, and is cost efficient compared to broadcast messaging.

Through algorithms and anonymised data, the technology breaks down the reasons why someone may not attend an appointment – using a range of external insights including the weather, traffic, and jobs.The appointments are then arranged for the most convenient time for patients – for example, it will give evening and weekend slots to those less able to take time off during the day.”

Deep Medical Team

The Deep Medical Team continually focus on removing barriers to healthcare and have identified that there are 4 million short notice cancellations per year for healthcare appointments. They built this into their AI model, allowing them to accurately show hospitals their predications to ensure time slots can be filled quickly when a cancellation is identified. The team also found that coordinating care is an area where duplicate referrals and appointments can be prevented, and they worked to find patients who had multiple access points to the healthcare pathways, and provided them with a single access point, that has the potential to prevent a further 4 million appointments across the system.

In 2022, Deep Medical started working with Mid and South Essex NHS Foundation Trust (MSE) which was an opportunity identified through the NHS Clinical Entrepreneur Programme. The MSE supports a population of 1.2 million, with an average did not attend (DNA) rate of 8%. Dr Deldar successfully became one of the innovation fellows within the MSE and they are currently finalising their trial.

Through validation, the team predict that the Deep Medical model can increase the capacity of hospital appointments by an additional 100,000 patients a year in Mid and South Essex Foundation Trust alone. The team have also evidenced that 90% of the Deep Medical predictions are accurate two weeks ahead of time, which allows hospitals to plan, reach out to patients, reschedule and where they can’t engage with them, progress to the next patient on the wait list to fill the appointments. On a larger scale, the team aim for the 5.6 million patients waiting for care, to be fit into the 8 million missed appointment slots per year, to support NHS trusts in addressing their backlog and reducing waiting time for patients.

With the support of the Deep Medical models, the team aim to show hospitals easy, targetable ways to tackle 16% capacity in proactive (Going out to patients to coordinate care) and reactive models (Sending texts and filling cancelled appointment slots).

This really isn’t about people forgetting an appointment, at the core of this issue is challenging health inequalities in our communities. We’ve created a system that can better identify and offer support for patients, whilst importantly tackling the NHS waiting list.

Dr Benyamin Deldar
Deep Medical- Benyamin Deldar presenting at the AAC Innovation Showcase 2023

‘It is estimated that there are eight million missed hospital appointments each year with an estimated annual cost to the NHS of £1.2 billion.’ *

The NHS Clinical Entrepreneur Programme has supported Dr Deldar to understand where his innovation fits into the healthcare landscape, and has acted as an accelerator programme, in supporting him build a business and develop a team. The mentorship and network has taken Deep Medical from ideation into the raising money phase and has been an integral part of their development.

Being a part of the NHS CEP has given me the framework and skills to scale innovations with purpose which has been incredible! It has given us a pipeline to clients and the space to learn about how to build a successful start-up.

The programme has given me so many different types of connections and helped me to get into the right room with the right people. When you pitch in the space with the other clinical entrepreneurs and see nodding heads, you get that immediate validation that your innovation is needed. If you’re thinking about applying, just go for it.”

Dr Benyamin Deldar

Looking to the future

As Deep Medical continues to scale, Dr Deldar and the team are aiming for the models to support the whole country to unlock appointments and create better access to healthcare for more people.

They have found that missed appointments are a global issue, with the USA alone losing 150 billion dollars* per year from DNA’s, and the team aim to take the learning from the UK, to share this with the rest of the world.

“If you find that you are working in an environment that could benefit from Deep Medical, or if you are a healthcare professional who could help with our validation, please get in touch or visit our website for more information.”

Dr Benyamin Deldar

For more information, please click on the links below.