Leeds academics to share grant to explore use of AI to inform early palliative care for older people with chronic diseases

The project InAdvance is a 4-year research collaboration that aims to develop and implement effective intervention programs for early palliative care for older people with chronic diseases.

An Interdisciplinary team of academics from University of Leeds School of Computing and the School of Medicine is part of a European consortium, involving 11 partners from 7 different countries, which is awarded almost €4.1 million in funding under the EU Horizon2020 programme under the action “Novel patient-centred approaches for survivorship, palliation and/or end-of-life care”.

The project InAdvance is a 4-year research collaboration that aims to develop and implement effective intervention programs for early palliative care for older people with chronic diseases, such as chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD). The interventions will be developed in different cultural contexts, and will address some of the major challenges of conducting equitable needs analysis, improving the quality of life for patients and their families, and reducing the socio-economic impact of chronic diseases.

Work in Leeds will comprise of analysis of healthcare records utilising machine learning to identify care pathways, combined with text mining of digital online content to identify individual and contextual factors linked to quality of life. Applied health researchers will then work with patients, families and healthcare professionals to determine the best time to integrate palliative care needs assessment and then evaluate the impact of this within a clinical trial.

The Leeds team will be working closely with partners at St Gemma’s University Teaching Hospice and NHS Highlands in the UK to develop equitable needs analysis and early palliative care intervention, together with the Aristotle University of Thessaloniki in Greece, and the University of Valencia.

Dr Dimitrova, the Leeds principle investigator for the project, commented that ‘This is novel impact-driven research that applies Artificial Intelligence to address key palliative care challenges in order to improve health outcomes. It offers an exciting opportunity to develop cross-Faculty working between medicine and engineering, which is part of a larger European research programme.’ 

Professor Bennett, leading the Academic Unit of Palliative Care at St Gemma's Hospice, added ‘Our previous research has shown that patients with non-cancer diseases have much poorer access to, and duration of, palliative care than those with cancer. This major EU funding will allow us to work with other academic partners to lead work on reducing these inequalities to benefit patients in Leeds and more widely.’

Professor Panos Bamidis, visiting professor in the Leeds Institute of Medical Education, said that 'This project offers an exciting opportunity to strengthen the links between the University of Leeds and the Aristotle University of Thessaloniki, opening up new avenues for research on innovative use of technology to support patients, families and health professional'

The InAdvance consortium involves researchers from University of Valencia (Spain), Universitat Politècnica de València (Spain), Aristotle University of Thessaloniki (Greece), University of Leeds (UK), and Erasmus Medical Center Rotterdam (The Netherlands); three healthcare providers IIS La Fe Hospital (Spain), Santa Casa da Misericordia da Amadora (Portugal) and NHS Highland (UK); two technical SMEs Salumedia (Spain) and Nively (France); and a non-profit organisation working  on older people rights at European level – AGE Platform Europe (Belgium).

"This project has received funding from the European Union’s Horizon 2020 research and innovation programme under the grant agreement No 825750."