Research team

Ciarán McInerney, Owen Johnson, Jared Clemetson



The Phoenix Partnership, Macmillan Cancer Support, Prof. Willie Hamilton


Why is this project important?

Considering safer decisions in a digital world, we are looking at the safety of algorithms embedded within clinical systems.

As patient-safety specialists, we are also interested in the broader questions around dependability, success factors and understanding unintended consequences.


What are we doing?

We are developing and evaluating computer-aided risk-assessment tools (RATs) to improve patient safety within primary care. We hope that our tools can bring the risks to the attention of healthcare staff so that they can address problems early. Importantly, we focus on decision support tools and systems that will enhance the clinician rather than replace them.

For example, we are working with Professor Willie Hamilton at the University of Exeter to implement his cancer risk assessment tools within the SystmOne system used by many of the UK’s GPs. These tools should directly help the UK improve its currently-poor record in the early detection of cancer in primary care.


Outputs and Impact

  • We have developed a digital implementation of the Prof. Willie Hamilton’s cancer risk assessment tools, called the eRAT.
  • We will work to develop Very Smart Cancer RATs that will improve upon the performance and safety-case of the eRAT.
  • We have reviewed and published on current and impending regulations and standards for software-as-a-medical-device, from a patient-safety perspective.


Contact for more information

If you have any questions about our Very Smart Cancer RATs research, please contact Ciarán McInerney or on social media at @CMc_PhD.