Health Innovation Manchester has teamed up with AstraZeneca UK and National Services for Health Improvement (NHSI) for a project which involves the use of artificial intelligence to improve asthma diagnosis and management.

The STARRS-GM project uses LungHealth software to work through the Standardised Asthma Review and Reduction in SABA (short acting beta agonist) model. It hopes to improve the outcomes for asthmatic patients through proactive identification and reviews for high-risk patients to optimise their management of the condition.

AI is being increasingly used within healthcare settings, with its use in diagnostics as the most common application. LungHealth focuses on high-quality, consistent and artificial intelligence-guided asthma consultations. As well as helping high-risk patients in Manchester, it will also provide education and knowledge to both patients and healthcare professionals. The pilot will also support streamlined referrals to specialist services.

Eddie McKnight, managing director at National Services for Health Improvement (NSHI), explained: “(the project) will provide participating practices with LungHealth decision support asthma software that will ensure that adult patients receive a complete and thorough asthma review, regardless of the experience of the reviewing clinician, with onward referral to specialist services if required. Patients will also be provided with a personal asthma action plan to help improve their concordance with treatment.

“We firmly believe that by pro-actively targeting ‘high-risk patients’ and offering reviews that asthma outcomes in Greater Manchester will be greatly improved and that we will see patients’ reliance on their reliever medication reduced due to better asthma management. This in turn could reduce asthma flare-ups and avoidable hospital admissions. We believe that the STARRS-GM project will deliver a sustainable legacy of care to ensure improved asthma outcomes for Greater Manchester in the future.”

The project will also have an impact on the environment, in line with the Delivering a Net Zero NHS policy. Medicines account for up to 25 per cent of emissions in the NHS, with inhalers forming three per cent of this. By optimising prescribing of inhalers and other medication, the project can help cut emissions.

Professor Ben Bridgewater, chief executive at Health Innovation Manchester, said: “It is a pleasure to be able to work in partnership with industry once again to improve the experience of care for patients in Greater Manchester. The use of this technology will allow those who suffer with this common condition to better manage and review their health.

“This type of partnership work is exactly what we at Health Innovation Manchester see as a top priority. By utilising the expertise of industry in collaboration with our local health and care system, we can work to improve patient pathways, equality and access to treatments whilst boosting environmental sustainability.”