A new AI platform, the brainchild of Michael McCarthy, a consultant medical oncologist at University Hospital Galway, aims to help healthcare professionals keep pace with practice-changing studies, a key part of continuous medical education (CME) and professional development. 

The digital platform was developed by a team of experts, including ADAPT’s Conor McNally and Dr John McCrae of the University of Galway; Thomas Melia from Enterprise Ireland; Health Innovation Hub Ireland, and the Technology Transfer Office in the University of Galway.

Dr McCrae’s expertise in machine learning and Natural Language Processing (NLP) has been critical to the development of the platform, while McCarthy’s understanding and experience in the area of clinical medicine has ensured that the platform meets the needs of healthcare professionals in the field.

The online platform is specifically designed to help clinicians, nurses, students, pharmacists, and other healthcare professionals to integrate up-to-date clinical trial data into their clinical practice, teaching, and training. 

Reduce burden of documenting CME activities

It will reduce the burden of documenting CME activities, which is a statutory requirement for physicians to retain their Medical Council registration in Ireland and most developed countries worldwide.

McCarthy approached Health Innovation Hub Ireland to help develop the platform, which uses AI to capture and analyse randomised controlled clinical trial reports.

The concept saw the University of Galway awarded a commercialisation fund feasibility study grant from Enterprise Ireland to determine the commercial viability of McCarthy’s OncDB platform. 

Unlike competing solutions, the OncDB platform is specifically designed to address the difficulty of keeping pace with an accelerating rate of practice-changing publications experienced by healthcare professionals in public and commercial sectors. The platform is expected to provide significant efficiencies and time-saving for healthcare professionals, delivering value to both individual prescribers and institutions.

It is unique in offering AI-supported critical appraisal, rapid repackaging, and reuse of key learnings. It is also portable, providing access from the bedside to the clinic, the classroom, and the conference hall.

The platform will provide authors with detailed user-engagement metrics for their published works, enabling wide-scale AI-supported peer-review of published clinical trials, and provide users with AI-driven tailored content suggestions to provide a 360° up-to-the-minute view of any declared field of user-interest.

Michael McCarthy, consultant medical oncologist at University Hospital Galway and the developer of the platform, outlined the benefits for patients and clinicians: “We believe this problem is worth solving because keeping up with the latest clinical trial data is crucial for healthcare professionals to provide the best possible care for their patients.”

Improving patient outcomes

"By providing a digital platform that captures and analyses randomised controlled clinical trial reports in real time, we can help clinicians, nurses, students, pharmacists and other healthcare professionals stay up to date with the latest treatments and therapies, ultimately improving patient outcomes.

"We want to test our assumptions regarding the appetite for such a platform in the broader medical and allied healthcare fields, as well as the likelihood of institutional adoption of our platform by public healthcare training bodies and in commercial sectors, and the financial value attachable to the efficiencies and time-saving that would be delivered by the platform.”

Dr John McCrae, research lecturer and ADAPT research leader at the University of Galway said: “As a researcher in natural language processing, I am excited to contribute to the development of this platform that aims to bridge the gap between clinical trial reports and healthcare practice. By leveraging AI and NLP, we can create a system that can efficiently.”