BT Group revealed it is trialling an AI platform designed to reduce hospital waiting lists and improve communications between patients and care providers, as new research highlighted demand for faster adoption of digital tools by health professionals in the UK.

The platform has been developed in collaboration with provider of messaging services Soprano, and is aimed at cutting the time spent on arranging an appointment for treatment and diagnosis while streamlining patient communications through the use of AI.

BT stated the service has already been showcased to customers and will be available to the country’s National Health Service (NHS) and other healthcare providers. 

Trials of the technology followed the release of NHS data stating “hospital waiting lists have reached record levels this year”, with more than seven million patients waiting for treatment and more than one million waiting to be diagnosed in August. 

BT’s analysis, which polled 121 NHS staff, found 59 per cent believe the time spent on testing new innovations is hindering patient care: a concerning fact as a vast majority of staff see speedier access to treatment as crucial. 

However, BT said 74 per cent of respondents see future investments in technology in healthcare as a priority, with 53 per cent acknowledging AI’s “significant impact” on clinical service delivery, particularly automated appointment booking and improving the accuracy of diagnosis.

“We have the technology – what we need now is a co-ordinated approach. Government, citizens, NHS leaders and tech providers must work together to focus on the investment in infrastructure and delivery mechanisms that can help the challenged workforce,” said Sultan Mahmud, director of healthcare at BT.