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Automated online GP to advise patients on minor illness

A tech company claims it can help save the NHS millions via a new automated online GP, developed together with the University of Essex.

Orbital Media said the artificial intelligence (AI) GP, which uses ‘machine learning’, could advise patients on minor illness like coughs, colds and hayfever.

CEO Peter Brady said AI offered ‘significant potential’ to relieve pressure on NHS services.

He said: ’Even if we can reduce the cost spent on minor ailments by as little as 1%, the potential saving to the NHS would be approximately £20m per annum.

‘AI has a key role to play in supporting future healthcare needs and this is just the beginning of our exploration into its potential applications within healthcare pathways.’

It comes as a number of current projects are looking to use new technology to aid patients to self care.

This includes the NHS 111 service in London trialling a new app for users, which replaces a call handler asking questions with an AI ‘chatbot’.