SME of the Week: Dem Dx

Sean Cregg, Clinical Relations Manager at Dem Dx, shares how Dem Dx, an AI-powered Clinical Reasoning Platform, aims to address the NHS workforce crisis.

The current workforce crisis 

“The greatest workforce crisis” in the history of the NHS is putting patients and staff at “serious risk”, MPs have said in a new report. The report put together by MPs from the Cross-Party Health and Social Care Committee found that 62,000 positions are unfilled, with a shortage of 50,000 nurses and midwives and a large reduction in full time GPs compared to three years ago.

In 2019, the Network Contract DES made funding available to primary care networks (PCNs) through a new Additional Roles Reimbursement Scheme (ARRS) to recruit nurses, paramedics, physician associates, clinical pharmacists and physiotherapists. The intention of the scheme is to grow additional capacity through these roles, and by doing so, help solve the workforce shortage in general practice. We are now seeing a task shift of the GPs workload being managed by the ARRS roles. 

As these additional roles are quite new, there is still a significant level of supervision required by GPs and senior clinicians, which can lead to interruptions in workflow. Moreover, a framework for managing these clinicians is not yet established. In order to maximise the full potential of ARRS, Dem Dx can help these clinicians work at the top of their licences, alleviating the burden of supervision and freeing up time for GPs.

Enter Dem Dx

Dem Dx is all about addressing the workforce crisis. Dem Dx is a Clinical Reasoning Platform (CRP) that uses AI to guide the clinician through a structured, step-by-step clinical assessment, from symptoms and examinations, through to reaching the most appropriate diagnosis, allowing the clinician to take on more clinical responsibility confidently and safely.

The platform is fully customisable to fit any clinical setting, where local policies and guidelines, clinic specific instructions and referral information can be added to the pathways – ensuring management recommendations remain consistent.

Additionally, all pathways are supported by national NICE / CKS guidelines which can be accessed instantly. The platform also boosts quality and safety – all decisions are transparent and pathways leave a fully auditable trail for quality and governance purposes, making handover and documentation seamless. 

Dem Dx is also an effective self learning tool. Users can register with the Dem Dx E-portfolio and receive monthly CPD reports and test their knowledge with quizzes. 

Developed by clinicians, for clinicians 

Our content was developed by NHS clinicians and is based on NICE guidelines and evidence-based practice. It covers over 1000 diagnoses and over 1.5 million different pathways and can be accessed by the web or downloaded onto devices from the Apple or Google Play store. From our pilots, Dem Dx has demonstrated significant benefits that include:

  •  66% increase in adherence to gold standard guidelines
  •  3.5x increase in nurse-led investigations
  • 15% increase in capacity for doctors
  • 10% reduction in time patients spent in A&E.

Dem Dx has also shown to reduce staff stress and anxiety, as they feel more confident in starting treatment plans. Clinical staff have also fed back that Dem Dx is a significant retention and recruitment factor.

Our plans for the future

Having already had successful pilots in secondary care with Moorfields’ paediatric A&E, Rochdale Community Rapid Response Team and Guy’s and St Thomas’ GSTT Urology Walk In Centre, Dem Dx is at the beginning of scaling commercial adoption in both primary and secondary care. 

The development of the primary care platform is in collaboration with the NICS GP Federation and will be tailored to suit its ARRS roles across GP surgeries, illness hubs and their Urgent Treatment Centre – our pilot will begin in September.

As well as supporting PCNs developing ARRS, we will continue to support clinicians and the wider service in secondary care. We are in early discussions with the colorectal team at Chelsea and Westminster Hospital where Dem Dx would develop a fully bespoke colorectal service pathway for private patients that would allow the reception and admin team to address common patient queries and direct patients to the most appropriate next step in the service. Many of these patient referrals are not forwarded to the correct team and unfortunately, are eventually lost to other private providers. The Colorectal service would be the first user case for Dem Dx with Chelsea and Westminster Hospital’s pathways, and if successful, this service change could be replicated across other service specialities.

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Dem Dx is part of the sixth cohort of the DigitalHealth.London Accelerator programme.

The DigitalHealth.London Accelerator is a collaborative programme funded by two of London’s Academic Health Science Networks – UCL Partners and the Health Innovation Network, MedCity, CW+ and receives match funding from the European Regional Development Fund.