A Chat With Dr. Lucy Mackillop, Chief Medical Officer at Clinical AI Company: Sensyne Health

Sensyne Health is a UK clinical AI company that accelerates the research, discovery and development of new medicines through the analysis of real-world evidence, using large databases of anonymised and de-identified patient data in collaboration with healthcare systems such as the NHS. We work to connect patients, clinicians, researchers and life sciences companies to help deliver better patient care and outcomes while curating real-world evidence datasets to support the next generation of medical research.

We partner with healthcare systems to implement software products that support and advance the ability of healthcare teams to offer remote patient monitoring and care to specific patient cohorts. For example, Royal Surrey County Hospital in the UK uses our GDm-Health app – which allows women to log their blood glucose measurements remotely. This helps provide care more efficiently while empowering women to control their own health in a way which is convenient to them.

Recently, we also partnered with Chelsea & Westminster Hospital NHS Foundation Trust to develop a decision support algorithm on Sensyne’s clinical algorithm platform, SENSE™. SENSE generates AI algorithms (called SYNEs) for real-time decision support across multiple medical conditions. ‘SYNE-COV™’, the first clinical algorithm produced by SENSE, aims to provide more personalised care for patients with COVID-19, offering near real-time predictions to help clinicians make better decisions about the risk of ICU admission, mechanical ventilation and in-hospital mortality.

After being developed in collaboration with Chelsea and Westminster Hospital, in March 2020, SYNE-COV achieved UKCA mark status for use in the UK, and will now be offered to NHS Trusts across the country.

We’ve also launched MagnifEye, an app that automates the reading of lateral flow tests using AI. The app uses a cloud-based deep learning algorithm to automate the accurate reading and analysis of lateral flow diagnostic tests, such as for COVID-19, providing standardised results in under 2 seconds.
 
 

 

How did you come up with the idea for the company?

 
Sensyne Health was founded by Lord Paul Drayson in 2018 and it started with the same mission that we are working on to this day – to improve health and create wealth for all through the ethical application of clinical artificial intelligence and the creation of a trusted data community between patients, clinicians, healthcare providers and life science companies that is transparent, fair and effective.

For me as a clinician, supporting pregnant women and improving maternity care has been the focus of my training and work I do within the NHS. The idea for GDm-Health, Sensyne’s app which provides personalised care for women with diabetes in pregnancy, developed because I wanted to test whether a digital application could improve patient care while being cost-effective by defining a new clinical path with technology as an enabler. Seeing GDm-Health evolve from an idea to an accessible tool that is supporting thousands of women and clinicians across multiple NHS hospitals, is a clear example of Sensyne’s mission in action.
 

 

What advice would you give to other aspiring female entrepreneurs?

 
If you have a good idea and it won’t go away – pursue it and don’t give up.

Particularly coming from the medical profession, working in industry was historically frowned upon. This is changing and the freedom of working across boundaries to achieve incredible things is exhilarating. Challenging yourself in a totally new environment fosters growth, determination, resilience and new ideas. It has made me value my clinical job while giving me a completely new vision of what possibilities there are to enhance healthcare and improve patient outcomes.
 

What can we hope to see from Sensyne Health in the future?

 
Our goal is to continue to make a difference to people’s lives at scale, and all of our work is focused on using AI to improve the delivery of healthcare. We hope to continue to work with more NHS Trusts in the UK and other health systems around the world, and build larger patient data sets that can be used to power future medical research.

In terms of specific areas of medicine, our therapeutic focus has been in women’s health, chronic diseases such as respiratory, cardiovascular, neurogenerative and immunological diseases and cancer.

The pandemic has shown us that there is huge potential for virtual care, in particular, the use of remote patient monitoring and sophisticated algorithms to support clinical decision making. Healthcare has had to make rapid changes to care delivery and patients have embraced virtual appointments and the use of technology to augment disease monitoring.

Sensyne is at the forefront of this digital revolution with our strong partnerships with the health systems together with our capabilities in machine learning and a platform to develop and deploy sophisticated algorithms to help address clinical need; we feel we can really make a difference to the health of whole populations in the UK and internationally.