HOSPITALS will use AI receptionists to crack down on missed appointments under new NHS plans.
Brits skip around eight million appointments every year, wasting £1.2billion of medics’ time.
Boffins say computer algorithms can predict when patients will bail based on their past record, their jobs and weather and traffic data.
Artificial intelligence systems will book people in at times that fit around their work and double-book slots where the risk of no-shows is highest.
A pilot is already running in Essex and will extend to clinics in Leicester, Newcastle, Surrey, Devon and Stoke later this year.
NHS CEO Amanda Pritchard said: “This will help ensure patients receive ‘smart’ appointments that are convenient and fit into their increasingly busy lives.
“It is a win-win for patients and the NHS.
“It will help us to free up doctors’ time to treat more people, save taxpayers’ money and help to reduce waiting times.”
Scientists at Deep Medical, which developed the software, believe they can get appointment attendance rates up to almost 100 per cent.
At Mid and South Essex NHS trust, where the trial has started, the normal attendance rate was 92 per cent.
When the tech is at full throttle experts believe clinics there will see an extra 100,000 people per year.
It will prioritise evening and weekend appointments for people who cannot get out of work in the day, using their job information on the system.
And people will be marked as higher risk for not attending if they have failed to turn up before, or not answered phone calls and email reminders.
If both booked patients turn up, doctors will still carry out both appointments.
Deep Medical founder Dr Benyamin Deldar said: “Our system can better support patients whilst also tackling the NHS waiting list.”