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Welcome to Alder Hey – the UK’s first cognitive hospital

We'd like to know about your experience at Alder HeyAlder Hey Children’s Hospital is using innovative cognitive computing technology to help transform the way care is delivered for patients.

Our vision is to create the world’s first living hospital.

What is a cognitive hospital?

In the modern world, data is everywhere – and Alder Hey Children’s Hospital is no different. We’re great at capturing this information, but in the past haven’t been so good at using it for the benefit of our patients.

Modern cognitive computing systems are able to process huge amounts of data quickly, extracting the most relevant and important parts. These systems are then able to transform this mountain of information into useful and personal insights that can be used to improve services or treatments.

Coupled with developments in technologies like natural language processing that allow you to speak to your computer in a normal voice and the availability of powerful mobile devices like tablets and smartphones we’re now able to make use of this information for the benefit of our patients and the hospital.

The vision is to use technology to provide Alder Hey Children’s Hospital with the attributes of a living organism.

You can read more about what cognitive computing is here.

How will it work?

To create the cognitive hospital we are using IBM Watson. Developed in the USA, it’s the world’s first commercially available cognitive computing system.

Cognitive computing is at the forefront of technology, which is why we are working in partnership with the Science and Technology Facilities Council’s Hartree Centre, a government-funded agency who are experts in leading the introduction of new and innovative computing technologies to organisations.

Together we share a vision for what the cognitive hospital is and together we can achieve it.

You can read more about our partners here.

What will it do?

Imagine a hospital that not only understands your questions and concerns, it can respond to them.

Imagine a hospital where the medical team knows you as a person – your favourite animal, food, band – and not just as a patient.

All of these things are possible in the cognitive hospital and a whole lot more too.

At the moment, we are beginning to develop a whole range of technologies that will help power the cognitive hospital. This isn’t something that will happen overnight, it will take time to develop so we are breaking the project down into stages.

How will patients interact with the cognitive hospital?

One of the main projects at the moment is to build a cross-platform mobile app that will provide the patient interface with the system. Through the app patients will be able to create their own avatar that will be with them throughout their journey.

The app will use natural language technology and be able to respond to questions that it is asked. Each new question will help the system to learn and develop, growing its knowledge base and improving its performance.

The information in the app will be shared with clinicians who can see if the patient has any specific concerns or anxieties. They can use this to help to get to know the patient, which will help them deliver the best treatments.

The ‘digital hospital app’ is being developed in a parallel by the Trust using funds raised by the Alder Hey Children’s Charity.

What’s happening at the moment?

We have already begun to share information with Watson and the system is beginning to learn.
At the moment, hundreds of patients are being asked a range of questions on everything from parking, transport, navigation through the hospital, the facilities available and anything else they can think of.

This essential process will help to train Watson to anticipate and respond to questions from patients and their families. Over time, the system will grow and develop, becoming quicker, more reliable and more accurate.

As the project progresses, Watson will increasingly use the information our patients voluntarily share with us to tailor our services to to the patient and their family.

Is my data safe?

The safety of patient data is incredibly important to us at Alder Hey, and the cognitive hospital is no different.

The system meets and exceeds all current standards for managing data. At all times the security of persona data is crucial for all partners.

Why are you doing this?

Alder Hey Children’s Hospital is committed to providing the best quality treatment for our patients. Cognitive computing technology offers us an incredible opportunity to personalise services for our patients. It will also help to improve the quality of services we provide and patient outcomes.

The technology will also help us to tackle some of the challenges we face as a Trust including missed or cancelled appointments which can cost the trust many thousands of pounds every year.

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