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Artificial Intelligence in Nurse Regulatory Decision Making

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Artificial Intelligence in Nurse Regulatory Decision Making

An investigation into the potential of artificial intelligence to support regulatory decision making in complaints about nurses in the US, UK and Australia

Project Funder

National Council of State Boards of Nursing



Project overview

Artificial Intelligence tools are increasingly being utilised to improve the quality and speed of processing large scale data sets in both commercial and public sector organisations worldwide. These types of disruptive innovations have demonstrating positive impact on the design and delivery of health and social care but to date they have not been tested in a health regulatory environment.

At the same time that health care design and delivery is evolving rapidly, health professional regulators across the globe are experiencing increasing levels of complaints. In 2016, a report on the activities of nine professional health regulators in the UK identified a 31% increase in complaints over the preceding six years (CESG, 2016). However, analysis is showing that a large proportion of these complaints are called ‘low’ risk complaints, because they are not upheld and there is no evidence of harm to patients or their families.  

This project aims to investigate the use and value of an artificial intelligence (AI) tool for improving the consistency and efficiency of decision-making in the nursing complaints process in three jurisdictions. Its primary focus is on improving the processing of low risk complaints where there is no evidence of harm. If successful, this tool could improve the quality and consistency of decision-making in nurse regulation nationally and internationally.


The Research Team

Principal Investigators: Robert Jago and Dr Anna van der Gaag CBE

Co-Investigators: Professor Kostas Stathis, Dr Michelle Webster and Professor David Denney

Research Fellows: Dr Ivan Petej, Piyawat Lertvittayakumjorn

Consultants: Professor Ann Gallagher (University of Surrey, UK), Martin Fletcher (Australian Health Practitioner Regulation Agency, Australia) and Professor Zubin Austin (University of Toronto, Canada)

Former Research Fellows: Dr Juan Caceres Silva


The research team includes individuals with a diverse range of skills and expertise in computer science, nursing, ethics, law and professional regulation.

Robert Jago is an Associate Professor in Law with experience in the relationship between law and Professional Regulation; Dr Anna van der Gaag CBE was Chair of the Health and Care Professions Council and is now a Visiting Professor of Ethics and Regulation at the University of Surrey and Senior Research Fellow; Kostas Stathis is a Professor of Computer Science with experience in Artificial Intelligence; Michelle Webster holds a PhD in Medical Sociology and specialises in social research methods and David Denney is a Professor of Social and Public Policy with experience in Risk Management. All based at Royal Holloway, University of London.

Martin Fletcher is CEO of the Australian Health Practitioner Regulation Agency; Ann Gallagher is Professor of Ethics and Care at University of Surrey and a nurse by background; and Zubin Austin is Professor and Director of the Centre for Academic Practice, University of Toronto, has published widely in the field of professional regulation and has worked with members of the team on a number of regulation projects, including one which has looked at the prevention agenda.

For more details about the project please email:

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