A spin out from Oxford University’s Institute of Biomedical Engineering, University College London (UCL) and Cancer Research UK, Deontics designs, builds and implements safe and transparent, clinically-driven AI systems for primary and secondary health care.

Our diverse, multidisciplinary team has backgrounds and expertise in medicine, technology and operations.

Learn more about our Founders, Senior Management Team and Research.


Deontics was founded by clinicians and engineers who set out to understand how doctors make decisions, and to model a system based on it.

Originating from foundational AI technologies developed at Oxford University, and with a rich legacy of over 300 peer-reviewed clinical publications, our exceptional founding team have spent more than a decade advancing Deontics’ technologies into a robust and highly capable intelligent healthcare system.

Dr. Ioannis Chronakis
Founder, Chief Technology Officer and Board member

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Dr. Ioannis Chronakis is the Chief Technology Officer and one of the Founders of Deontics as well as a member of the Board. He started his career as a medical doctor after graduating from the University of Patras medical school. Fascinated by the internet revolution of the 90s, he switched to a software engineering career.

Ioannis has experience in network and internet ecosystems, cloud style services, and has led internet companies’ technical teams. His interest in cutting edge technologies led to a career shift to robotics and aerospace where he worked in the development of physics simulation software (used to plan and test the delivery of payloads to the international space station), software to deal with network latency issues while remote controlling devices in orbit, and applying space telemetry technology to ground solutions.

In 2006, Ioannis combined his medical and engineering careers by joining Professor John Fox in the Advanced Computation Lab at Cancer Research UK, where he took over the development and evolution of the clinical decision support software platform. The platform has since developed and tested various clinical applications in National and European projects. He shared a common drive with Professor Fox, in moving the technology and science from research to application and making an impact. This led to spinning out Deontics, where Ioannis leads the technical team, providing a bridge between the clinical and technical aspects of the company.

Dr. David Glasspool
Founder and Head of Knowledge Engineering

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David has a PhD in Computational Neuroscience from University College London and an MSc in Cognitive Science from the University of Manchester. He has worked in the computer industry and as an academic computer scientist and psychologist.

David led research groups at Cancer Research UK and Edinburgh University and worked for many years on clinical decision making and the effective communication of risk and uncertainty. He has extensive experience of applying theoretical work in computer science and artificial intelligence to practical clinical computing systems. He was a core member of the team at Cancer Research UK which developed the PROforma language for representing clinical decisions and processes and which spun out Deontics.

Dr. Vivek Patkar
Founder and Chief Medical Officer

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Vivek is the Chief Medical Officer and one of the Founders of Deontics. He is a former breast consultant who trained as a surgical oncologist at TATA Memorial hospital – the largest tertiary cancer hospital and research centre in India – after graduating in medicine from the University of Bombay in 1995.

Vivek has a longstanding research interest in the application of AI based knowledge representation techniques for clinical decision-making. While working as a fellow in the AI in Medicine laboratory in Cancer Research UK between 2004-07, Vivek developed a number of clinical decision support applications for cancer as well as other indications, which were piloted and published in peer reviewed journals. Later as a part of collaboration between Oxford and Edinburgh Universities, Vivek led a team of researchers at UCL medical school (Royal Free Hospital) which worked on improving the quality of decisions made in cancer multi-disciplinary team meetings using clinical decision-support.

Vivek has worked in large research consortiums funded by European Commission research grants. Vivek and collaborators at Guys & Kings hospitals were successful in getting an NHSx and NIHR AI in Health and Care Award in 2020.

Vivek’s expertise includes:

– Surgical practice in oncology and breast surgery
– Extensive experience in working in the NHS
– Clinical informatics and EPR systems
– Clinical decision support
– Knowledge representation
– Evidence based medicine
– Shared decision-making and patient involvement

Professor John Fox

In August 2021, Professor John Fox – a great pioneer of biomedical informatics – passed away. John was one of the Founders of Deontics, and a core component of the Deontics platform is built around the PROforma system he devised. His hard work and dedication to making an impact in the world was pivotal in spinning out the company. He acted as the Chief Science Officer until 2020 and afterwards a part time consultant and board member.

In Memoriam. Safe, Sound and Profound: A Tribute to Prof. John Fox, PhD, FACMI, FIAHSI (1948–2021)

Bio reproduced from: “In Memoriam. Safe, Sound and Profound: A Tribute to Prof. John Fox, PhD, FACMI, FIAHSI (1948–2021)

John Fox was a biomedical informatics pioneer. He was a scientist, leader, educator, serial entrepreneur and passionate advocate for the use of high quality clinical decision support systems (CDSS).

His greatest fame comes from his creation of the PROforma formal computer language for modelling clinical decisions and processes. Rooted in psychology and cognition, PROforma reflects the understanding of human decision making, follows rigorous software engineering practices and has clear and consistent semantics. John implemented and trialled over 15 CDSSs using PROforma, providing safe and sound decision-support to different healthcare organisations in different countries.

John Fox was an interdisciplinary researcher with theoretical interests in AI and computer science and an applied focus in medicine and medical software engineering. After training in experimental psychology at Durham and Cambridge Universities in the UK, and post-doctoral fellowships at Carnegie Mellon University (working with AI founders Herb Simon and Allen Newell) and Cornell in the USA, he joined the Medical Research Council in Sheffield UK, to establish a program of research in decision-making and clinical decision support. In 1981 he set up the Advanced Computation Lab at the Imperial Cancer Research Fund (now Cancer Research UK) where research focused on applications of knowledge based systems in oncology and primary care. However, the group was explicitly multidisciplinary and made contributions in basic computer science, safety critical systems, AI and medical informatics, and developed a number of technologies which have been commercialised.

In 2007 John moved to the department of Engineering Science at Oxford University to set up an interdisciplinary research collaboration with Edinburgh University and University College London, and a clinical informatics incubator at the Royal Free Hospital in London. The incubator ran a number of successful trials of AI technologies and spun out two companies to take the technologies into clinical use: OpenClinical CIC and Deontics Ltd.

In 1996 he and his team were awarded the 20th Anniversary Gold Medal of the European Federation of Medical Informatics for the development of PROforma, one of the first formal computer languages for modelling clinical decisions and processes.

Senior Management Team

Our Founders are joined on the Deontics’ Senior Management Team by:

Dr. James Whitticase
Chief Executive Officer and Chairman of the Board

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Dr James Whitticase is the CEO and Chairman of the Board at Deontics. He is also a Senior GP Partner in London. James brings to Deontics over 20 years of clinical leadership, as well as expertise in transforming healthcare systems and service delivery.

Starting his career as a software engineer, James went on to study medicine at University College London. After a varied medical career, James settled into General Practice where he helped build a successful and innovative practice. He went on to head up several healthcare commissioning and providing organisations, and in 2008 left his full time practice to further pursue his business interests.

James has worked for a range of service delivery and technology businesses to bring turnaround revenue growth, fundraising, executive board mentoring and implementing growth-to-sale strategies.

Ellie Ervine
Chief Finance Officer

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Ellie is a seasoned Chief Financial Officer (CFO) with a wealth of experience in navigating the financial landscapes of both medical and technology companies. After an early career in blue chip corporates, she founded her own accountancy practice specialising in technology-based startups, gaining a track record in guiding startups through the entire financial journey – from initial fundraising to successful sale. She has worked with multiple startups, becoming an indispensable part of their journey from inception to successful exit. Her vision, coupled with hands-on experience, has allowed her to influence these budding companies, helping nurture them into industry leaders.

Kate Dodgson
Chief Operations Officer

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Kate Dodgson is an experienced programme and operations manager, specialising in Artificial Intelligence in healthcare and the humanitarian and development sectors. Kate managed the clinical trial evaluation of Deontics at Guys and St Thomas’s hospitals in the prostate cancer pathway (NHSx and NIHR AI in Health and Care Award) from 2020 – 2023. Prior to that she was the programme manager of The Hague Data Science Initiative, and co-founded the Humanitarian Data Science and Ethics Group.

Before her career transition to AI, Kate practised as a lawyer, acting as a senior lawyer on two Australian Government Commission of Inquiries, and in victims’ representation and prosecution at the International Criminal Court and the UN International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia.


Deontics was founded on a strong AI pedigree from the late Professor John Fox’s early work with Herbert Simon, Nobel Laureate and Father of AI, and his inspiration to apply AI for medicine. Our founders have published work in over 300 peer-reviewed clinical and technical publications. Please see below for a selection:

Selected Clinical Peer Reviewed publications

  • Garber JR, Patkar V. Computer-interpretable guidelines: electronic tools to enhance the utility of thyroid nodule clinical practice guidelines and risk stratification tools. Front Endocrinol (Lausanne). 2023;14:1228834. Published 2023 Aug 15. doi:10.3389/fendo.2023.1228834
  • Garber JR, Papini E,Patkar V et al. American Association of Clinical Endocrinology And Associazione Medici Endocrinologi Thyroid Nodule Algorithmic Tool. Endocr Pract. 2021 Jun 2:S1530-891X(21)00164-6.  doi: 10.1016/j.eprac.2021.04.007. Epub ahead of print. PMID: 34090820.
  • Knight SR, Cao KN, South M, Hayward N, Hunter JP, Fox J. Development of a Clinical Decision Support System for Living Kidney Donor Assessment Based on National Guidelines. Transplantation. 2018 Oct;102(10):e447-e453. Doi: 10.1097/TP.0000000000002374. PubMed PMID: 30028418.
  • Miles A, Chronakis I, Fox J, et al. Use of a computerised decision aid (DA) to inform the decision process on adjuvant chemotherapy in patients with stage II colorectal cancer: development and preliminary evaluation. BMJ Open. Epub ahead of print 2017. DOI: 10.1136/bmjopen-2016-012935.
  • Patkar V, Acosta D, Davidson T, et al. Using computerised decision support to improve compliance of cancer multidisciplinary meetings with evidence-based guidance. BMJ open 2012;
  • Patkar V, Hurt C, Steele R, et al. Evidence-based guidelines and decision support services: A discussion and evaluation in triple assessment of suspected breast cancer. Br J Cancer. Epub ahead of print 2006. DOI: 10.1038/sj.bjc.6603470.
  • Peleg M, Fox J, Patkar V, et al. A Computer-Interpretable Version of the AACE, AME, ETA Medical Guidelines for Clinical Practice for the Diagnosis and Management of Thyroid Nodules. Endocr Pract. Epub ahead of print 2014. DOI: 10.4158/EP13271.
  • Bury J, Hurt C, Roy A, et al. LISA: A web-based decision-support system for trial management of childhood acute lymphoblastic leukaemia. Br J Haematol. Epub ahead of print 2005. DOI: 10.1111/j.1365- 2141.2005.05541.x.
  • Tural C, Ruiz L, Holtzer C, et al. Clinical utility of HIV-1 genotyping and expert advice: the Havana trial. AIDS. Epub ahead of print 2002. DOI: 10.1097/00002030-200201250- 00010.
  • Walton RT, Gierl C, Yudkin P, et al. Evaluation of computer support for prescribing (CAPSULE) using simulated cases. BMJ. Epub ahead of print 1997. DOI: 10.1136/bmj.315.7111.791.
  • Patkar V, Fox J. Clinical guidelines and care pathways: a case study applying PROforma decision support technology to the breast cancer care pathway. StudHealth Technol Inform. 2008;139:233-42

Selected Technical Peer Reviewed Publications

  • Fox J. Cognitive systems at the point of care: The CREDO program. J Biomed Inform. 2017 Apr;68:83-95. doi: 10.1016/j.jbi.2017.02.008. Epub 2017 Feb 15
  • Grando MA, Glasspool D, Fox J. A formal approach to the analysis of clinical computer-interpretable guideline modeling languages. Artif Intell Med. 2012 Jan;54(1):1-13. doi:10.1016/j.artmed.2011.07.001. Epub 2011 Jul 23. PubMed PMID: 21788121
  • Fox J, Patkar V, Chronakis I, Begent R. From practice guidelines to clinical decision support: closing the loop. J R Soc Med. 2009 Nov;102(11):464-73. doi: 10.1258/jrsm. 2009.090010. PubMed PMID: 19875535; PubMed Central PMCID: PMC2770361.
  • Sutton DR, Fox J. The syntax and semantics of the PROforma guideline modeling language. J Am Med Inform Assoc. 2003 Sep-Oct;10(5):433-43. Epub 2003 Jun 4. PubMed PMID: 12807812; PubMed Central PMCID: PMC212780.
  • Fox J, Glasspool D, Patkar V, Austin M, Black L, South M, Robertson D, Vincent C. Delivering clinical decision support services: there is nothing as practical as a good theory. J Biomed Inform. 2010 Oct;43(5):831-43. doi: 10.1016/j.jbi.2010.06.002. Epub 2010 Jun 17. PubMed PMID: 20601124.
  • Fox, J., Beveridge, M., and Glasspool, D. W. (2003). Understanding intelligent agents: analysis and synthesis. AI Commun. 16, 139–152.
  • Fox, J., and Das, S. (2000). Safe and Sound: Artificial Intelligence in Hazardous Applications. Cambridge: American Association for Artificial Intelligence and The MIT Press.


Deontics and Capable Project

Deontics is a partner on the Capable Project – an EU Horizon 2020 funded project developing a cancer patient coaching system based on AI, big data, and socio-psychological approaches.


Deontics was used as a Case Study for Guys Cancer Centre’s AI in Cancer Care course. Reaching over 27,000 cancer clinicians world wide, we are proud that Deontics’ technology is being used as an example of best-practice by this leading institution.

The following playlist includes short videos on:

  • Introduction to the Founders of Deontics and expert systems
  • Using expert systems for clinical decision support, and expert systems vs machine learning
  • Applying the Deontics expert system in routine health care for clinical decision support
  • Dealing with uncertainty and the need to link decisions to empirical evidence
  • Using Deontics in a primary care setting
  • Using Deontics in the cancer MDT pathway