Advanced Care Research Centre

Blog - What is the AIM-CISC Project?

Comms Officer Rob Mackie provides some detail on the AIM-CISC project, recently funded by NIHR. First posted 9th September.

One of the key facets of the ACRC is a commitment to collaboration and interdisciplinary working. 

As testament to that, when social distancing and building work allows the return to the Edinburgh Bioquarter, those working with the ACRC will sit alongside researchers on a brand new affiliated  research programme – AIM CISC. 

AIM CISC, or ‘Artificial Intelligence and Multimorbidity: Clustering in Individuals, Space and Clinical Context’, like the ACRC, is headed up by Bruce Guthrie, and a number of the key personnel are heavily involved within ACRC workpackages, and recently secured a share of £12 million funding through the National Institute for Health Research (NIHR). 

While health professionals often focus on single conditions, this research programme will look at multimorbidities, where people have complicated mixes of different conditions and treatments.  

AIM CISC will use artificial intelligence to analyse and understand this information to attempt to establish what patterns of multimorbidity are most common, which most affect people’s lives, and help improve quality and safety of care. 

The three key aims of the programme are: 

  • Identify the most common combinations of long-term conditions that people have, and examine whether people inherit a tendency to get particular combinations of conditions from their parents. This will help us understand what causes multimorbidity, and identify potential treatments.  

  • Examine whether particular combinations of long-term conditions are more common in some areas communities. This will help us understand how where people live affects their health (for example, through differences in air pollution, or in access to safe open-space to play/exercise, or in having local shops that sell affordable healthy food).  

  • Develop new methods for identifying people who are likely to have unexpected health problems like falls or bleeding. This will help us to work out what changes to their treatment or care could prevent these problems. One example of a possible change is medicines review to make sure that people take the right medicines for them as an individual. Another is rapid, comprehensive assessment of people admitted to hospital to ensure that their care suits all of their needs rather than just the problem that brought them into hospital. 

The AIM CISC team combines expertise in AI and clinical researchers with experience of delivering and researching healthcare for people with multiple long-term conditions. Researchers within AIM CISC will work closely with members of the ACRC, making the most of shared resources, for example to ensure dedicated public and patient involvement.  

The vision of the ACRC is to deliver innovation and change to people in later life, and the more programmes such as AIM CISC that we can offer support to, the closer we are to realising our vision.