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Hospital trust to implement API for clinical mobile apps



Imperial College Healthcare NHS Trust joins DeepMind in initiative to develop digital technology in hospital setting

A London hospital trust is planning to implement new technology for mobile clinical apps, including an API for secure information exchange, as part of a partnership with London based digital specialist DeepMind.

Imperial College Healthcare Trust said it is planning to use the API to support the exchange of data between its existing electronic patient record system and new apps for patient care, and to use the company’s Streams clinical app.

It has become the second NHS body to team up with the company, following a similar arrangement with the Royal Free London Trust announced last November.

Imperial contributed to the development of Streams in some of the early product development and a pilot for an app named Hark, which in turn was taken over by DeepMind early in 2016.

The trust said that over the past two years it has moved from paper to electronic patient records, and that it regards the use of apps in the next step in the use of digital tech in healthcare. The API is intended to support different apps in working together while ensuring that patient data is secured and consistent.

Secure linkage

Dr Sanjay Gautama, Caldicott guardian and chief clinical information officer for the trust, said: “For apps to be useful and safe they cannot operate in isolation – the need to be securely linked to the core electronic patient record system.

“By working with DeepMind we are embracing the opportunities that technology brings to improve patient care, using their expertise to help us deploy a system that allows us to maximise future innovations in mobile technology for healthcare for the benefit of our patients.”

While DeepMind has assumed a high profile based on its work in artificial intelligence (AI), and its acquisition by Google in 2014, Imperial emphasised that the partnership does not allow the use of AI.

It also said that the data used in the apps will be stored in a UK data centre that has passed NHS audits, it cannot be combined with any Google services or accounts under any circumstances, and that all access to it is logged and subject to review by the trust.

Image from Imperial College NHS Trust

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