UK’s National Health Service (NHS) Gets An AI Upgrade

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In an effort to expand the use of AI technologies within their service, UK’s National Health Service (NHS) has decided to utilize $300M of public funds to set up an artificial intelligence lab. 

Part of a new unit, this lab will be working towards digitizing the health and care system and will act as a link between the NHS and startups, encouraging collaboration between the two entities. This vision is set-up with the aim of driving health-related AI innovation within the organization. 

The Lab’s Responsibilities: 

Certain sources provide a more detailed description of what will the lab be used for: 

  1. Speeding up the results of tests like mammograms and brain scans to improve cancer screening 
  2. Create systems that detect higher risks of post-operation complications, in order to improve patient safety 
  3. Automate routine tasks of the organization, to free up the technician’s time, which can be better invested with patients 
  4. Identifying people who are more prone to fatal disorders like heart disease or dementia, which will allow early diagnosis and personalized attention 
  5. Improving the skill-set of the organization’s workers to ensure they are able to make use of AI systems for day-to-day activities 

The Vision of NHS

When the new post health secretary, Matt Hancock, was appointed, he gave his nod to health tech and mentioned that he wanted to transform the NHS to accommodate “preventive, predictive and personalized care”. 

Hancock made his first move to achieve his vision by announcing the AI lab in a press release. In the press release, the Department of Health and Social Care suggested that this lab would tackle some of the biggest challenges currently faced in health and care. According to the press release, this would include “cancer detection, new dementia treatments, and more personalized care”.

The Early Birds of NHS

This isn’t the first move the organization has taken towards becoming an AI foundation. There are a couple of companies that have already collaborated with the NHS, as given below:

1. DeepMind

This Google-owned AI specialist based in the UK partnered with the NHS in 2015. The aim of this partnership was to create a management app used for clinical tasks. This app has been rolled out to a number of NHS hospitals. 

2. Babylon Health

This AI and app-based healthcare developed a chat-bot style app for the NHS, which was used for primary care. 

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This is surely a revolutionary move for the UK and a great step for AI. In addition, Simon Stevel, CEO of NHS England added, “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 our organization become a world leader in using these important technologies.

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