NHS told to start exploiting data and AI better

Private companies stand poised to swoop in if it doesn’t, warns report to government by independent academic

Posted 4 September 2017 by Gary Flood

The NHS needs to make better use of the opportunities provided by AI and data analysis if it’s to compete with private medical companies in the near future, the government was warned at the end of last week.

If things get out of hand, the health service could actually end up wasting taxpayer money if it doesn’t commence better manipulation and analysis on the data it holds on millions of NHS patients.

That data represents an incredible resource, says the study, that could provide answers to many of the challenges faced by the hard-pressed healthcare sector.

Wins could include better real-time monitoring of patients, for example.

And if the NHS doesn’t, then more nimble third parties could swoop in and marketise the information, claims Oxford University’s Sir John Bell, the study’s author.

Bell was asked to provide a vision for the future of the country’s vital Life Sciences industry, with data and AI usage emerging as key targets for policymakers, it turns out.

“You don’t want is somebody rocking up and using NHS data as a learning set for algorithms and then moving the algorithm to San Francisco and selling it, so all the profits come back to another jurisdiction,” he warns.

Bell also wants the health service to explore AI (artificial intelligence) technologies like speech recognition and automated diagnosis technologies to support human monitoring when predicting mental health, cancer and inflammatory disease patient outcomes.

Such advanced techniques are the subject of our upcoming conference on the potential of new ways of thinking to solve public sector issues, including in the NHS, Think AI for Public Sector.

The show, free to qualified public sector professionals, takes place on Wednesday September 20 – please go here if you’d like to find out more.