Artificial Intelligence

How should the NHS spend today's AI money?

15th August 2019
Alex Lynn

The UK government has announced that there are plans for £250m for the NHS, to be invested in artificial intelligence. But how should the money be spent? Here, Tim Ensor, Director of Artificial Intelligence at Cambridge Consultants, commented.

"The NHS is unique: a single organisation providing healthcare to the whole UK. This means the NHS is perfectly placed to use AI to improve healthcare and also to use its scale to enable the UK to be the best place in the world to develop AI. 

“But the NHS should not spend this money on developing their own AI algorithms. There are many companies and institutions in the UK with proven capability to develop AI algorithms supporting new healthcare services. The key component, which only the NHS can provide, is well managed access to patient and hospital operations data. So this money should be focused on:

  • Enabling the NHS to provide equal access to its data for all credible UK-based researchers.
  • Ensuring that ethical, unbiased and high-quality services are developed based on this data.
  • Developing the capability to roll-out the best AI applications across the entire NHS, in order to achieve the true benefits of its scale for both patients and practitioners."

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