• Yeovil trust to work with artificial intelligence company
  • Deal means clinicians can use app to monitor patients
  • Royal Free breached data law through contract with DeepMind

Yeovil District Hospital Foundation Trust is set to roll out an app developed by artificial intelligence firm DeepMind, after signing a five year contract with the Google owned company.

The Streams app will link with the trust’s electronic patient record system and process the same data, which the trust says will make it easier for clinicians to check patients’ vital signs and examine test results on mobile devices.

Earlier this year, the Royal Free London FT was found to have breached data law when it agreed on a similar deal with DeepMind to use the app, which continued to be tested after patient data had been transferred.

Yeovil stressed it is “not sharing data” with DeepMind.

Trust chief clinical information officer Tony Smith said: “We are instructing DeepMind to carry out very specific data processing activities to support care.

“This is consistent with our other contractual agreements with IT suppliers who provide technical services to the trust, and who act as data processors while we remain the data controller at all times.”

DeepMind will process “clinically relevant patient data” including patients’ heart rate, blood pressure, respiratory rate, temperature and alertness.

The trust said the service will be “essential” for patient safety and patients will therefore not be able to opt out.

It is hoped the app can alert doctors to patients deteriorating from conditions such as acute kidney injury.

“We think having all this information available in the palm of their hands will help clinicians make quick decisions about care for their patients, and mean they can spend less time on administrative tasks and have more time to spend with patients,” a trust statement added.

Dr Smith said the app would improve clinicians’ expertise and experience, and lead to more informed clinical decisions and better patient outcomes.

He added: “The information that will enable the Streams application to work is data that is already collected and held by our hospital, and remains under our control.

“It will be used for no other purpose than to inform the delivery of care to our patients, in the same way as existing observations and patient record products in use in our hospital.”

The trust expects Streams to be used from next year, after clinical staff have been trained and a “comprehensive programme of public and patient engagement” has taken place.

DeepMind signed a similar deal with Taunton and Somerset FT in June and it also works with Imperial College Healthcare Trust and the Royal Free.

In July, information commissioner Elizabeth Denham said the Royal Free had not done enough to safeguard patient data in its deal with DeepMind.