A new digital healthcare tool, developed at the University of Reading using artificial intelligence technology, is being used to inform hospital practice and improve patient experience for a large and rapidly ageing population in China.

China is home to more than 1.4 billion people, including the largest and fastest-growing elderly population in the world. As such, the challenge of providing high-quality healthcare is becoming increasingly significant.

Historically, the effectiveness of digital healthcare tools in Chinese hospitals has been limited by a lack of alignment with existing hospital information systems and clinical pathways. But a new tool developed by researchers at the University of Reading is now addressing this issue, by combining existing data and best practice knowledge with artificial intelligence (AI) technology, to improve the quality, efficiency and safety of hospital services.

Led by Dr Weizi (Vicky) Li, the research team demonstrated the tool through a series of pilots in Chinese hospitals, where it was shown to significantly reduce medical errors, costs and waiting times while increasing rates of patient referral, diagnosis and surgery.

Following these successful pilots, Li secured investment for a commercial application based on her research. The resulting company is now a leading provider of healthcare technology, delivering bespoke digital platforms and integrated clinical pathway management systems across 2,400 hospitals in China.

Through its application in the design, implementation and subsequent commercialisation of appropriate informatics technology, the underlying research continues to improve patient health outcomes for 600 million out-patients and 25 million in-patients each year.

Find out more

Research highlight: China’s smarter hospitals

O2RB Impact Excellence Award (2020)

Personalised medicine for people with diabetes (blog, April 2020)

Intelligent solutions to a costly issue

New grant – EPSRC Future blood testing for inclusive monitoring and personalised analytics Network

View the full impact case study on the REF 2021 website: Improving the Quality of Health Care Through an Integrated Clinical Pathway Management Approach and a Digital Platform