Transforming NHS with artificial intelligence

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With the never-ending hype around artificial intelligence (AI), will the NHS sink or swim as they begin to embed the latest technologies into their culture?

I spoke with Professor Matthew Cooke, Chief Clinical Officer at Capgemini UK, to get his perspective on the impact of AI on the NHS.

How do you think AI will benefit the NHS?

“The impact of AI could be transformational for the NHS. To start with, it has the ability to deliver a personalised rather than standardised approach, which enables clinicians to concentrate on the more complicated cases.

Do you think the latest technologies, such as AI, will end up replacing clinicians?

“If AI really is trying to replicate the thinking of these clinicians, then we should put them to the test, just as we do with humans, with the use of examinations, audit and appraisals. Present AI and automated systems rely on a clinician as a final decision-maker, being more physician support, if we are to gain maximum value from AI, then we need these technologies to become more autonomous.”

What do you think is holding back the use of AI in healthcare?

“There is a fear of the unknown, but most people do not realise how much AI is already in their everyday lives. As clinicians, we always want to see hard evidence to ensure that systems are clinically effective and safe. Some healthcare uses of AI have a good evidence base, but many are unproven. The other big concern for the public, as well as clinicians, is data security. A lot of work is happening to prevent and handle malicious attacks, but we must also develop a secure culture within the NHS staff as well as the suppliers.”

What do you think about the new code of conduct for artificial intelligence subsystems the Department of Health and Social care has launched?

“From my experience and role as a clinical academic, many of the principles are similar to those used in clinical research and also reflect how technology must be aligned to the increasingly complex world of evidence-based medicine. This new code of conduct follows the traditional approach of adherence to evidence-based guidelines but does not address one big advantage of AI, which as mentioned above, is the ability to deliver personalised care in a world where the individual’s response to treatment is increasingly important.

The strong focus on the use of data and methods should be welcomed, so we can embrace the quality of new technologies, just as much as we embrace new treatments and diagnostics. However, AI does also bring new challenges of learning how to assess procedures that are continuously changing. Healthcare experts are usually responsible for these assessments, but the challenges involved in this are still being debated.”

Our Digital Transformation Review 11 – Artificial Intelligence Decoded features interviews with AI leaders and experts from Google, IBM and Microsoft, as well as academicians from Oxford University.

Find out more about our healthcare and artificial intelligence offers here.

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