NIHR awards £12m to AI to help understand long-term conditions
“This large-scale investment in research will improve our understanding of clusters of multiple long-term conditions, including how they develop over a person’s lifetime. Professor Lucy Chappell, NIHR Chief Executive and chair of the AIM funding committee
The NIHR has awarded almost £12 million to new research that will use advanced data science and artificial intelligence (AI) methods to identify and understand clusters of multiple long-term conditions and develop ways to prevent and treat them.
An estimated 14 million people in England are living with two or more long-term conditions, with two-thirds of adults aged over 65 expected to be living with multiple long-term conditions by 2035.
The Artificial Intelligence for Multiple Long-Term Conditions (AIM) call, which is aligned to the aims of the NHSX NHS AI Lab, funds research that combines data science and AI methods with health, care and social science expertise to identify new clusters of disease and understand how multiple long-term conditions develop over the life course.
The call will fund up to £23 million of research in two waves, supporting a pipeline of research and capacity building in multiple long-term conditions research.
The first wave has invested nearly £12 million into three Research Collaborations, nine Development Awards and a Research Support Facility.
One collaboration, led by Professor Bruce Guthrie at the University of Edinburgh, will develop new methods to help GPs or hospital doctors predict when a patient might be at high risk of adverse outcomes because they have other conditions, and develop new models of care to improve the outcomes of those at highest risk.
People who develop multiple long-term conditions often do not have a random assortment of diseases but rather a largely predictable cluster of conditions.
Developing a better understanding of these disease clusters, including how they develop over the course of a person’s life and are influenced by wider determinants of health, requires novel research and analytical tools that can operate across complex datasets.
Professor Lucy Chappell, NIHR Chief Executive and chair of the AIM funding committee, said: “This large-scale investment in research will improve our understanding of clusters of multiple long-term conditions, including how they develop over a person’s lifetime.
“Over time, findings from this new research will point to solutions that might prevent or slow down the development of further conditions over time. We will also look at how we shape treatment and care to meet the needs of people with multiple long-term conditions and carers.”
FCC has recently reported on a WHO global report offering six guiding principles for AI design and use in health.