New AI digital platform developed by an oncologist at University Hospital Galway is set to be a gamechanger in the delivery of clinical trial education and patient care

News | Posted on: 9 May, 2023

Pictured Mr Michael McCarthy, a consultant medical oncologist at University Hospital Galway

8th May, 2023 Galway, Ireland – Mr Michael McCarthy, a consultant medical oncologist at University Hospital Galway, has developed a digital platform aimed at helping healthcare professionals keep pace with practice-changing studies, a key part of continuous medical education (CME) and professional development. Mr McCarthy approached Health Innovation Hub Ireland (HIHI) to help develop the platform, which uses AI to capture and analyse randomized controlled clinical trial reports.

The University of Galway has been awarded a Commercialisation Fund Feasibility Study grant from Enterprise Ireland to determine the commercial viability of Mr. McCarthy’s OncDB platform. 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. 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.

The development of the OncDB platform has been made possible through the collaboration of a team of experts, including Conor McNally, ADAPT; Dr John McCrae, University of Galway; Thomas Melia, Enterprise Ireland (EI); HIHI, and the Technology Transfer Office (TTO) in University of Galway. Dr McCrae’s expertise in machine learning (ML) and Natural Language Processing (NLP) will be critical to the development of the platform, while Mr. 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.

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 re-use 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.

Mr 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,” said Mr McCarthy. “By providing a digital platform that captures and analyzes randomized 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 Steven Griffin, Clinical Innovation Manager, Health Innovation Hub Ireland welcomed this new AI solution We are excited to be supporting Mr. McCarthy and the team at the University of Galway in the development of this innovative digital platform. The potential benefits for healthcare professionals, patients and the broader medical community are clear. By enabling clinicians, nurses, students, pharmacists and other healthcare professionals to stay up-to-date with the latest clinical trial findings, this platform has the potential to improve patient outcomes, reduce healthcare costs and enhance professional development. We look forward to seeing the results of the feasibility study and the impact that this technology could have on healthcare in Ireland and beyond,” said a spokesperson for the Health Innovation Hub Ireland.

Dr John McCrae, Research Lecturer, University of Galway “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”.

About HIHI

Health Innovation Hub Ireland (HIHI) drives collaboration between the health service and enterprise. We offer companies the opportunity to pilot and/or participate in clinical evaluation studies to prove their products. We provide the health service access to innovative products, services and devices that they may not otherwise be exposed to. HIHI is built on the recognition that collaboration with enterprise can benefit patient care, patient pathways and outcomes. We assess all concepts for healthcare innovation from those on the frontline. We encourage healthcare professionals to get in touch with HIHI if they have an idea or solution to how something in your job might work better. HIHI was established by the Department of Business, Enterprise and Innovation and the Department of Health and is supported by Enterprise Ireland (EI) and the Health Service Executive (HSE).

About ADAPT – SFI Centre for Research in AI Driven Digital Content Technology

ADAPT, the world-leading SFI Research Centre for AI-Driven Digital Content Technology, brings leading academics, researchers and industry partners together to deliver excellent science, engage the public, develop novel solutions for business across all sectors and enhance Ireland’s international reputation. Coordinated by Trinity College Dublin and co-hosted by Dublin City University, ADAPT’s partner institutions include University College Dublin, Technological University Dublin, Maynooth University, Munster Technological University, Technological University of the Shannon: Midlands Midwest, and the University of Galway.

About University of Galway Technology Transfer Office (TTO)

The Technology Transfer Office (TTO) accelerates the impact of the University of Galway’s research and innovation by engaging with researchers, enterprises, government and society. The TTO enables engagement, collaboration, knowledge transfer, research commercialisation, and supports the region’s start-up and innovation ecosystem.

The TTO is the primary entrepreneurial support and intellectual property commercialisation function within University of Galway. The committed team has a strong sense of purpose and its remit is linked to strong metrics for the university. The team have a strong track record of leveraging funding, filing patents for novel technologies, collaborating with industry, and creating new companies and start-ups.

About Enterprise Ireland

Enterprise Ireland is the Irish government agency responsible for the development and growth of Irish enterprises in world markets. They provide supports for early-stage innovations by funding, mentoring, and advising companies through their various programs. They offer a wide range of financial supports such as seed capital, venture capital, and equity funding for startups, as well as funding for product development and commercialization. Enterprise Ireland also provides access to a network of industry experts, mentors, and partners to help companies develop their products and enter international markets. They also provide resources and training to help entrepreneurs develop the necessary skills and knowledge to grow their businesses. Their goal is to help Irish companies to start, scale and succeed in global markets.