ACADEMICS from Essex University will team up with a healthcare firm to help innovate patient care.

Researchers will partner with healthcare industry disrupter Firza for a 28 month Knowledge Transfer Partnership.

The partnership will allow Firza to use intelligent computer systems to deal with repetitive, high-volume tasks such as non-attendance letters or medication change forms, which will free up staff to deal with services that are more complex.

Firza is led by experienced pharmacists who work to provide time and cost-saving solutions for GP practices, primary care networks and NHS clinical commissioning groups across the UK.

The company employs a team of pharmacists, clinicians, technical and administrative support staff to provide GP surgeries with respiratory, cardiovascular and diabetes clinics, as well as care home and home-bound patient support.

Asim Mirza, managing director of Firza, said: “We are really excited to get this project off the ground. Our model of centralising non-patient-facing tasks has received a lot of traction.

“This method is freeing up time for clinicians at GP practices across the country which allows them to see more patients.

“We are committed to increase resilience and ensure that services remain sustainable.

“Our model will be further improved by developing the technology with the help of experts from the University of Essex.”

Two leading computer scientists from Essex will lead the project - Dr Alba Garcia, who is an expert in information retrieval and image processing, and Dr Faiyaz Doctor, who specialises in the development and application of machine learning.

A research associate will be appointed to work with the company on the deployment of new technological solutions.