Launching AI platforms for the NHS

Our Research Assistant Thomas recently attended the ‘Launching AI platforms for the NHS’ online event exploring how AI is spreading within the UK’s healthcare system, an area in which we see huge potential.

I recently attended the virtual event - Launching AI platforms for the NHS. AI within healthcare is a fascinating area where we see huge potential. We undertake constant research at Screenmedia, and AI is obviously an area of great focus for us, so we didn't want to pass up on the opportunity to learn more about this area from the industry experts. The event had an exciting mix of speakers with years of experience within the fields of healthcare and AI.

Humans at the heart of healthcare

The event kicked off with a keynote from Lord David Prior, Chair of NHS England. He spoke about the ever-shifting technological landscape and how our healthcare system has fallen behind. He proposed that our healthcare system is fundamentally broken and that it has been for a while now; the home will become the new centre for healthcare, and it’s going to be thanks to data and AI. This shift from reactive healthcare to a predictive system will not come easily. Thankfully the NHS aren’t just talking about it; they’re taking the necessary action to get us there.

“Fine words butter no parsnips.”

David was clear that there’s no use just talking about this stuff; we must work hard and implement it. There are many challenges ahead, but we're well equipped – we have the people, we have the data, we have the intelligence, and we have a healthcare system that’s willing to change. He was extremely hopeful of the future and such a charismatic character it was a joy to hear him speak.

Healthcare digital solutions

Upskilling NHS staff for AI

We swiftly moved on to a panel discussion with a great range of speakers, discussing the many challenges when training for AI. Many people don’t understand what AI is capable of, meaning they lack the necessary knowledge to start implementing it. The panel agreed that the way we train will have to be flexible and adaptable to accommodate this technology's fast-paced nature.
DR Natasha Curran, the Medical Director for the Health Innovation Network, made an excellent point about how AI will affect existing teams.

She gave the example that she can prescribe and administer medicine without knowing how it was made and transported because she has faith in that framework. That needs to happen for AI - we need to demystify it and have faith that the data and systems are built upon a trusting foundation.

The panel saw this upskilling challenge as an opportunity for the UK to become global leaders in this space if we lead the charge.

NHS AI Lab

Next up was a keynote speech by Indra Joshi, Director of AI for NHSX. She gave us some background into the NHS AI Lab, what they hope to achieve and how they’re doing it. The NHS AI Lab is a focal point for accelerating the safe adoption of ethical and effective AI-driven technologies to the front line of health and care. They aim to be a world leader in the development and use of AI-driven technologies to improve people's health and wellbeing. In pursuing this goal, they have identified four key barriers to using AI in healthcare:

  • System – to bring AI-driven technologies into use, we need clear steps for each stage of development and agreed ownership of those stages.
  • Understanding – to encourage the adoption of AI, staff across the health and social care sector must understand its benefits and also develop the expertise to be able to use it when it’s delivered.
  • Confidence – clinicians and the public must have confidence in the systems they are using to use AI-driven technologies to their full potential.
  • Infrastructure – to make the best use of AI-driven technologies, it is essential to have access to high quality, reliable data sets and effective digital systems.

Opportunities and challenges of deploying AI in a clinical setting

During this final panel discussion, the group talked about the fantastic opportunities for AI-driven healthcare solutions such as x-ray analyses, improved patient experiences, and improved resource management. But for us to seize these opportunities, we need to get better at templating and sharing the deployment processes. The standardisation of this process is critical for us to be able to roll out these solutions.

“We're talking about artificial intelligence, but it all depends on human intelligence to work out how do we best procure and deploy these systems” – Neelan Das, Senior Consultant, Kent & Canterbury Hospital.

AI in clinical setting

Conclusion

It was amazing to hear about how the NHS is launching innovative new systems. I felt as though I was receiving a glimpse into the future of healthcare.

We’re super excited to share our learnings with our clients. If you fancy hearing more about what we learned at the conference or how we plan to use our newfound knowledge to craft solutions for our clients, get in touch and we’d love to talk.

Thomas

Research Assistant

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