Alder Hey Cognitive Hospital
10 May 2016



Using our computational and data expertise to help Alder Hey Children's Hospital become the UK's first "cognitive hospital".



Credit: ​​​​​​Alder Hey Children's Hospital

​Imagine a hospital that not only understands your questions and concerns, it can respond to them.

Imagine​​ a hospital environment that can be adapted and changed before you arrive.

Imagine a hospital where the medical team knows you as a person – your interests, your fears - and not just as a patient.​

​In a groundbreaking collaboration between the Hartree Centre and Alder Hey Children’s Hospital, we are helping to build the UK’s first cognitive hospital. The technology we are developing will help to revolutionise personalised medicine, putting the patient at the centre of their care in a way that has never before been possible.

It’s all made possible by the huge advances in cognitive computing and data processing. The new project is being built on IBM Watson – the world’s first commercially available cognitive computing system.

What is a cognitive hospital?

Modern cognitive computing systems are able to process huge amounts of data quickly, extracting the most relevant and important parts. These systems are then able to transform this mountain of information into useful and personal insights that can be used to improve services or treatments.

We are using our knowledge and experience as one of the world’s leading centres for data management to help Alder Hey Children’s Hospital become the UK’s first cognitive hospital. 

We are working on the technology that powers the hospital. We have chosen to build the new system on IBM Watson, the world’s first commercially available cognitive computing system.

The Hartree cognitive team (made up of computational scientists, data and cognitive experts from Hartree and IBM) will tailor Watson for use at Alder Hey.

Learn more about cognitive computing (link opens in a new window).

What are you currently working on?

The Hartree Centre is helping Alder Hey Children’s Hospital to harness the power of IBM Watson and develop a tailored solution which will enhance the patient experience. Our role is to ensure that the technology works effectively.

Currently our biggest challenge is in training Watson. We are working with Alder Hey Children’s Hospital to collect huge amounts of information, which we will then use to help Watson understand everything it needs to about the hospital.

Some of this information already exists, and some of it we are our currently working with volunteer patients and their families to collect.

We feed the information to Watson helping the system to learn and develop. At the same time as managing the flow of data to Watson, we will tailor the system to that it can fulfill the specific requirements of its application. In the future, Watson will get to a stage where the system can begin to learn and develop for itself.

​Watch the video to see a example of how we hope the final solution will be integrated into the patient journey through the hospital.

When will the cognitive hospital become a reality?

Work on the technology to power the cognitive hospital is already underway. We are developing the project as we speak and have started piloting some of the technologies with selected groups of patients. We are now working iteratively, adding more and more functionality to the system once we have tested it and ensured it functions effectively.

What could the project achieve?

The opportunities for the project are incredible. Alder Hey Children’s Hospital already boasts some of the most advanced facilities, we’re helping it to develop some of the most advanced technological capabilities too. IBM Watson is already being used in other hospitals internationally, but this is the first time it has been used in such a way in the UK. Improving the patient experience is at the heart of the vision for the cognitive hospital, and everything we are doing will contribute to this aim.

​How can I get involved?

There are already a number of partners working to deliver the project. We are interested in hearing from businesses and organisations that have skills that could contribute to this project. If you would like to discuss how you might get involved, please contact us​.

What can cognitive computing do for me?

Cognitive computing has many applications across multiple areas. The Hartree Centre is working on a number of exciting applications for cognitive computing technology in different industries and sectors.

If you are interested in how cognitive computing could improve the way your business or organisation works, please contact us today.

Contact us

If you have a project idea in mind or are interested in finding out more about one of our projects, please contact us​​.​