The potential of AI in the medical sector

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With 10 times more money being spent on treating disease than prevention, I spoke with Hamish Dibley Management Consultant at Capgemini Invent and Matthew Cooke, Chief Clinical Officer at Capgemini UK to find out the current influence AI (Artificial Intelligence) has on the medical sector and what future it holds.

According to Hamish and Matthew, AI is ripe for certain core functions and support services within the NHS that require the completion of routine, high-frequency and non-complex work tasks and automating these tasks can help achieve both economies of work-flow and scale. X-rays, CT scanning, invoicing, procurement and elective care processes are all examples of where AI can deliver better value and reduce the margin for human delay and error. Also, AI is already being used in image interpretation which allows high volumes of images e.g. X-rays or images of the retina to be reviewed in screening programmes. This means that clinicians can focus on more difficult cases requiring complex psycho-motor skills.

Both think that the one main limiting factor of implementing AI in hospitals is understanding how, why and where to effectively deploy this type of technology. The NHS can be transformed through better use of data to inform service redesign that is then effectively enabled by digital solutions such as AI. Taken in this sequential logic, AI allows us to design digital solutions with confidence that are appropriate to the needs and problems patients and healthcare professionals face. Further to this, there is also the limitation of the upfront and ongoing costs associated with AI, however, the new Secretary of State has made available funding to help support the design, development and deployment of AI in the NHS. If used intelligently, AI should improve work processes and patient outcomes sufficiently to help achieve investment returns.

They say it is better to consider how effective AI deployment could potentially be in the NHS and how it can bring about the recasting of job roles. AI offers the opportunity to create the conditions where current employee responsibilities and workforce can be reimagined, so more staff, clinical and managerial can become more patient facing, value-adding and less burdened by bureaucracy.

To read more about AI, and how organisations can benefit from it, read our global study here.

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