Creating the first UK cognitive hospital
06 Feb 2017



The Hartree Centre is helping to build the UK’s first cognitive hospital – at Alder Hey Children’s Hospital.


​​​Credit: Alder Hey Children's NHS Foundation Trust


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

In a ground-breaking collaboration with Alder Hey Children’s NHS Foundation Trust, we are helping to build the UK’s first cognitive hospital using the power of IBM Watson. This is the first time that Watson will be applied to improve patient experience in the UK.

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. And the outcomes of this project could also potentially generate savings for the NHS.

Projects like this are now possible thanks to huge advances in cognitive computing and data processing. The first stage of this multi-year project is underway, with an initial version of the platform expected to be ready for testing in the hospital by Christmas.

As you are reading this, and over the next few months, Alder Hey’s army of volunteers will gather questions from hundreds of families on everything they might want to ask about when they visit the hospital. Then, experts from the Hartree Cognitive team will use this information to train ‘Watson’ to anticipate and respond to questions before patients come into hospital. Families visiting Alder Hey will be able to access this information through an app on their tablet or smartphone.

The work to create a cognitive hospital takes Alder Hey one step closer towards realising their aspiration to be a ‘living hospital’. As Alder Hey’s Clinical Director of Innovation, Iain Hennessey said: “This hospital has just been built - it's effectively just been born. We’re going to teach it how to look after children.”

Read more about the cognitive hospital project​.

Read the blog post by Alder Hey's Iain Hennessey.

Iain Hennessey will be showcasing the project at Big Data Analytics in London on 23 June. For more information visit the event website.

Find out more about the project in our 90 second video: