Chelsea and Westminster Hospital launches AI-powered solution for cataract surgery patients


Chelsea and Westminster Hospital NHS Foundation Trust, and its official charity CW+, have launched a digital innovation pilot project within the Ophthalmology Department at Chelsea and Westminster Hospital. The project features ‘Dora’, an AI-powered solution developed by Ufonia, which supports patients undergoing cataract surgery to improve the patient experience.

With high waiting times and limited capacity in the cataract pathway at the Trust, Dora is being used to contact patients before and after cataract surgery through automated telephone calls, which enables them to have informative conversations about their surgery. This innovative approach allows Dora to ask relevant questions and provide answers to specific queries, offering a new level of patient engagement as well as improving efficiency.

From the moment of referral to the recovery phase, Dora will be in regular contact with patients. These calls, lasting between 5 and 10 minutes, aim to provide continuous support to patients throughout the cataract surgery pathway.

Dora is part of the CW Innovation programme, jointly led by CW+ and the Trust, which paves the way for new ideas – and new ways of using existing ideas – that will improve patient care, patient experience and the way the Trust’s hospitals and clinics are run. CW+ funded the £50,000 Dora project as part of the CW+ grants programme, which awards funding to hospital staff for projects that will help them to deliver better patient experience and care.

This pilot study emphasises safety and serves as a concept test rather than a fully fledged service. The Trust is implementing strict gateways to ensure acceptance and closely monitoring the implementation of Dora to prioritise patient wellbeing and responsible use of AI technology.

Mr Richard Lee, Consultant Ophthalmologist and Service Director leading Dora’s implementation at the Trust, said: ‘We are pleased to introduce Dora at Chelsea and Westminster Hospital which will help to improve the efficiency of clinical services. Through using Dora, the AI technology will support our doctors, nurses, and administrative staff with routine activity, freeing up their time for higher value work elsewhere in the care pathway’.

Chris Chaney, the Chief Executive of CW+ and co-lead of CW Innovation, said: ‘We are delighted to have funded the Dora AI pilot at the Trust. This project shows the significance of AI in communicating with patients, helping to reduce wait times and free up clinicians’ time. It is user-friendly and is proving highly beneficial for patients and staff alike.

‘The Trust strives to remain at the forefront of healthcare innovation and this pilot demonstrates our ongoing commitment to improving patient care through advanced technology’.