Government looks to AI to improve NHS efficiency

A NEW National Artificial Intelligence Lab will be established to work on some of the biggest challenges in healthcare, including earlier cancer detection, new dementia treatments and more personalised care, the Department of Health and Social Care (DHSC) has announced.

The Government says the £250 million investment in AI will bring together the industry’s best academics, specialists and technology companies and will sit within NHSX, the new organisation overseeing the digitisation of the health and social care system in England.

Among potential initiatives for the new AI Lab are improved cancer screening by speeding up the results of tests, including mammograms, brain scans, eye scans and heart monitoring. It will also develop predictive models to better estimate future needs of beds, drugs, devices or surgeries, and automate routine admin tasks to free up clinicians so more time can be spent with patients.

The AI Lab will also look at ways to better identify patients most at risk of disease, such as heart conditions or dementia, allowing for earlier diagnosis and cheaper, more focused, personalised prevention.

Simon Stevens, NHS England Chief Executive, said: "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.

"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."