The Government is ploughing £250 million into a new National Artificial Intelligence Lab to support the NHS, and provide a forum for academics, specialists and technology companies to harness the technology for healthcare.
The new centre will sit within NHSX, the body recently set up within the Department for Health & Social Care to oversee digitisation in healthcare, and operated with the Accelerated Access Collaborative, which brings together industry, the NHS, regulators and patient representatives to promote innovation in the sector.
DHSC highlighted a number of areas on which the AI Lab could focus its efforts, including improving cancer screening; using predictive models to estimate future needs of beds, drugs, devices and surgeries; identifying which patients could be more easily treated in the community; and identifying those most at risk of certain diseases.
NHS England chief executive Simon Stevens 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."
Royal College of Radiologists president Dr Nicola Strickland added: "I expect radiologists to be leaders in using AI algorithms to assist them, provided they can see evidence that these AI algorithms have been developed using large enough, properly curated data and rigorously validated and tested."