Funding totalling £127,000 over three years has been awarded by the Department of Health to develop the ISABEL
paediatric diagnosis tool for use with adults. The grant will be matched by an equal contribution from the Helen Hamlyn Trust.

The award-winning, web-based decision support tool has been evaluated for paediatric use and passed an important milestone in May when a paper published in Archives of Disease in Childhood showed it produced acceptable clinical accuracy in arriving at the final diagnosis for 100 real and 99 hypothetical cases.

Clinicians using ISABEL key a list of symptoms into the system which responds with a list of possible diagnoses. It is named after a child, Isabel Maude, who was rushed into intensive care at St Mary’s Hospital, Paddington, London, following a misdiagnosis of her condition at a local hospital.

Her parents, Jason and Charlotte Maude set up the charity in 2000 and Dr John Britto, a consultant paediatrician at St Mary’s, worked extensively on the ISABEL tool.

Announcing the funding during a visit to St Mary’s, health minister, John Hutton, said: “We have been working closely with the Isabel medical charity to evaluate the system, and have been impressed by its usefulness in diagnosing symptoms in children.

”It has considerable potential to help patients and doctors. I am pleased to announce that the government will contribute £127,000 over the next three years for the development of an adult version of the decision support system. This funding will match an equal contribution from the Helen Hamlyn Trust. I am hopeful that this will result in the production of a valuable tool and make a significant contribution to patient safety.”

Co-founder of the charity, Jason Maude, said: “The diagnostic error made in my daughter’s case was a dramatic example of how the model of healthcare delivery in the UK can sometimes go wrong. The ISABEL system has been shown to help clinicians improve patient care and safety and I am therefore delighted that the Department of Health has confirmed additional financial support.”