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HEE report shows diagnostics lead in NHS use of AI


Mark Say Managing Editor

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Diagnostics have emerged as the most common use of artificial intelligence in the NHS, according to the first roadmap report on the subject by Health Education England (HEE).

The report is aimed at identifying the workforce of impact of AI and is accompanied by the launch of an interactive dashboard showing the distribution, use case profiles, spread and overview of the technology.

Among the key findings of the report are that diagnostic technologies, such as those used in imaging, pathology and endoscopy, have so far provided the most common use of AI in the health service (34% share), followed by automation/service efficiency, P4 medicine (predictive, preventative, personalised, participatory), remote monitoring, therapeutic and other.

In addition, large scale deployments of 56 technologies are expected to take place within a year, with 77% used in secondary care, 23% in primary care and 7% in community care.

The roadmap emphasises the need for this to be supported by a holistic and cross-organisational strategy to adapt the education on the use of AI in the NHS. It also underlines the need to monitor the spread of AI to ensure fair access to new products across regions, points of care and types of site.

Another finding was that a total of 155 workforce groups across 67 clinical areas were identified to be using AI technologies, with the most affected groups found to be medics in clinical radiology and general practice as well as non-clinical admin staff.

Supporting the workforce

Dr Hatim Abdulhussein, clinical lead for digital, AI and robotics technologies in education (DART-Ed) programme at HEE, said: “It is important we achieve transformation through emerging technology, helping scalability to improve patient care throughout the country, and can understand impact on the system, pathways, and users.

“We need to ensure the workforce is ready to support this aim and the insights from this roadmap will focus our efforts on education and training to achieve this.”

The roadmap was developed in co-operation with healthcare analytics and evaluation specialist Unity Insights, the National Institute for Health and Care Excellence, the NHS AI Lab and the NHS Accelerated Access Collaborative.

It has been produced to expand on the legacy of Topol review of 2019, which focused on preparing the NHS workforce for an increasing use of digital technology in healthcare.

The dashboard enables the user to explore the data from the research behind the report by filtering by technology type, point of care, clinical area, workforce group and geographic spread.

The research reflects the rising consensus that AI will play a big role in future healthcare. HEE has released the report and dashboard close NHS Business Service's award of a procurement framework contract for the use of the technology in treating strokes, NHS England is preparing a pilot project on algorithmic impact assessments, and the Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency has published a set of principles for medical devices using AI or machine learning.




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