The NHS is to establish a national artificial intelligence (AI) laboratory with the aim of improving patient care.
Announcing the UK Government’s £250m investment in the new facility, Health Secretary Matt Hancock said that the AI Lab will bring together academics, specialists and technology companies to work on some of the biggest challenges in health and care, including earlier cancer detection, new dementia treatments and more personalised care.
AI is already being developed in some hospitals, and trials have shown that the technology can perform at least as well as leading doctors when it comes to spotting lung cancer, skin cancer and eye conditions, BBC News reports.
According to the Department of Health and Social Care, 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 which patients could be more easily treated in the community, reducing the pressure on the NHS and helping patients receive treatment closer to home.
- 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.
“We are 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,” Hancock said.
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