Thinking on its own: AI in the NHS

By Lynsey Downie | @lynzeyz
Subedited by Jasmine Wing and Philippa Strachan (@philippastrac)

A report released by the charity Reform suggests Artificial Intelligence (AI) could benefit the NHS in the near future if used efficiently. AI is defined as a group of advanced technologies which enable machines to carry out highly complex tasks that would normally require a human expert. The use of AI promises to deliver cutting-edge diagnostics for patients and help resolve budgeting issues the NHS currently faces. However, for AI to reach its potential the public needs to have faith in the NHS’ project.

Chief Executive of the NHS Simon Stevens declared “NHS England is to invest more in AI over the next 12 months and will roll out new regional patient data schemes.” The NHS believe, if implemented correctly, AI could aid the delivery of the NHS’ Five Year Forward View which aims to narrow gaps between; health and wellbeing, care and quality, and efficiency and funding. AI could also be used to tailor treatment and select the best services for the individual.

Reform argues that for this project to be a success the NHS will need to collect relevant data which can be accessed by all NHS workers on a universal database. This data would have to follow ethical regulations that patients agree to. Overall, AI could potentially be the NHS’ saviour but will the patients ever get behind it?

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