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NHS to establish an artificial intelligence lab

UK’s Department of Health and Social Care says the lab will bring together academics, specialists and technology companies to work on the biggest challenges in health and care.

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The AI lab will sit within the NHSX, which is overseeing digitisation of the service
The AI lab will sit within the NHSX, which is overseeing digitisation of the service

The UK government has pledged £250m for the NHS to set up the National Artificial Intelligence Lab to enhance patient care, deliver quicker screening results and tackle a range of other major challenges in health and care.

 

The AI Lab will sit within NHSX, a new wing of the health service that will oversee the digitisation of the health and care system, in partnership with the Accelerated Access Collaborative.

 

Impact of AI

 

AI is already being developed in some hospitals, successfully predicting cancer survival rates and cutting the number of missed appointments.

 

Matt Hancock, health secretary, said the NHS was “on the cusp of a huge health tech revolution that could transform patient experience by making the NHS a truly predictive, preventive and personalised health and care service”.

 

In the new lab, academics, specialists and technology companies will work on some of the biggest challenges in health and care, including earlier cancer detection, new dementia treatments and more personalised care.

“New NHS AI lab will ensure the benefits of NHS data and innovation are fully harnessed for patients in this country”

According to the Government, the AI Lab’s work could:

  • improve cancer screening by speeding up the results of tests, including mammograms, brain scans, eye scans and heart monitoring
  • use predictive models to better estimate future needs of beds, drugs, devices or surgeries
  • identify patients most at risk of diseases such as heart disease or dementia, allowing for earlier diagnosis and cheaper, more focused, personalised prevention
  • build systems to detect people at risk of post-operative complications, infections or requiring follow-up from clinicians, improving patient safety and reducing readmission rates
  • upskill the NHS workforce so they can use AI systems for day-to-day tasks
  • inspect algorithms already used by the NHS to increase the standards of AI safety, making systems fairer, more robust and ensuring patient confidentiality is protected
  • automate routine admin tasks to free up clinicians so more time can be spent with patients.

“Carefully targeted AI is now ready for practical application in health services, and the investment announced today is another step in the right direction to help the NHS become a world leader in using these important technologies,” added Simon Stevens, chief executive, NHS England.

 

He continued: “In the first instance it should help personalise NHS screening and treatments for cancer, eye disease and a range of other conditions, as well as freeing up staff time, and our new NHS AI lab will ensure the benefits of NHS data and innovation are fully harnessed for patients in this country.”

 

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