UK life sciences business, Sciensus, specialises in patient access, engagement, and insight driven solutions. CEO Darryn Gibson tells Verdict how the company is working with the NHS to deliver prescriptions using AI technology.

What makes Sciensus different from its medtech competitors?

We have peers in the life sciences category and within each of the areas we serve including cancer, chronic, rare diseases, and insights. Our tens of millions of patient interactions every year and deep insights are what differentiates our business from others. These patient interactions have taught us about the importance of understanding people, who are at the core of everything we do. Because, to understand how therapies work best, you must first understand the people who take them.

Where is your current market focus in terms of both geography and segment?

Our current focus is building out our digitally enabled patient insights offering. Sciensus sits at the intersection between patients and their medicine. We give patients access to life-changing medicines and work closely with health care professionals and pharma partners to provide them with vital patient reported data and insights. Not only to elevate the patient experience overall, but also to improve the efficacy of their therapy. If patients can manage their symptoms more effectively and stay on their regimes, it helps improve the entire health ecosystem in any country.

With offices in the UK, Netherlands and Switzerland, Sciensus extends services across the EU to work closely with our international pharma partners, offering them real world data through patient reported outcomes such as PROMS and PSPs. These insights are digitally enabled; but also include a human touch.

How are you using AI within your products and services?

We operate in the healthcare space, so our first step was to set up our AI governance structures. This was critical as AI fundamentally relies on data. Of course, we view the importance of patient data and security as sacrosanct. Since, we have launched three initiatives in the AI space. Firstly, AI technology to enable prescription transcription – handwritten to digital form – this innovation was recognised by Microsoft in a recent competition as part of digital innovation.

Secondly, we are using machine learning (ML) and triaging thousands of pharmacovigilance events, to ensure accuracy and efficiency levels which are unprecedented to what we’ve seen before. And, thirdly, using anonymised patient data and ML to better understand the traits of different types of patients and identifying and then addressing why they will or won’t comply to their medicine regime.

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How are you testing AI within your services delivery offerings?

There has been a change in UK regulation which allows non-medical prescribers to write prescriptions and it helps the NHS as they try to move patients from one therapy (medicine) to the next, which we will adapt and make available through our portal

We have recently launched a pilot enabling UK’s NHS hospitals to deliver e-prescriptions through our NHS online portal. This new solution allows for prescriptions to be delivered faster, removing the risk of delays or human errors when processing prescriptions.

Sciensus matches the e-prescriptions directly to the patient and its AI technology transcribes the medication details. The hospitals can use a prescription tracker within the portal to manage demand for prescription renewals and track their new prescription on its journey through the hospital and to Sciensus.

The pilot has received positive feedback from all participating trusts who have found it easy and convenient to use. We are rolling out this solution to all UK NHS trusts via an expanded pilot scheme, as hospitals indicate they are ready to move to a more efficient process by sending e-Prescriptions. To-date, more than 95% of all NHS trusts are using the online portal – adoption and usage has been incredibly high.

Given the rapid pace of AI development, what innovations are on the horizon for Sciensus?

We are building governance and ways of operating with AI and data. We’ve incorporated supporting AI technology like the Microsoft Co-pilot, to improve the experience for both patients and customers. We are continuously improving our digital capabilities and suite of digital products and have ambitious plans for further developments including but not limited to our portals, hubs and patient facing apps.

New features in the NHS portal, enable a hospital to easily switch patients on to more effective therapies. Also in development is the functionality to enable a hospital to register new patients electronically via the portal.

Next phases of the projects will allow for prescriptions to be deployed within the portal as well as tracking and delivery of prescriptions.

Any other ways you are deploying technology for better patient outcomes?

We have developed online communities for people with rare diseases, that have fantastic features. These features provide a safe and secure space for patients, families and consultants to support each other and access vital information on the disease.

One of the examples of an online community is Progeria Connect, a partnership between Sciensus and the Progeria Research Foundation. The platform is designed to be both language and geographically agnostic. This is especially important in the rare disease space as there are not many people who have these conditions and these people are spread-out globally, often in remote places.

Its video chat function allows for real-time translations for multi-language calls which reduces barriers in connecting patients. Patients can also instant message one another using real-time translation. This is extremely important as people with rare conditions want to share and learn from one another – not just about the latest clinical information but also day-to-day living. Patients, carers and consultants can also join, as members have private groups amongst themselves too to have more focused group conversations.