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NHS AI Lab works on strategy for health and social care

28/05/21

Mark Say Managing Editor

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The NHS AI Lab has begun to develop a national strategy for the use of relevant technology in health and adult social care.

Virtual skeleton on tablet

It has put out a call for interested parties to become involved in the effort, which is aimed at creating an ecosystem of the technologies and ensuring they are safe, effective and conform to ethical standards.

The organisation, which is within NHSX in the Department for Health and Social Care, highlighted the potential of AI solutions such as tests on smartphones to monitor long term conditions, diagnostic tools, systems to support hospital managers, others to help public health officials identity trends in communities, and tools that local authorities could use to understand current and future care needs.

Kassandra Karpathakis, head of AI strategy at the NHS AI Lab, said: “It’s about how we can link in with the wider AI technologies, whether they are fit for purpose, and how we can link into the wider digital transformation happening within the healthcare system.”

She added: “It’s important for us to think about having a national AI strategy for health and adult social care now. We have a really good opportunity through the NHS AI Lab to create that ecosystem and want to make sure the steps we’re taking now lead towards the state we want to have.

“We need to make sure that AI technologies are equitable, so people across England can use them, and that we sustain and digitally transform these technologies to make sure we are capable of using them. Alongside this it is about building the workforce capability, making sure they are effective and safe.”

Call for involvement

Karpathakis said that details of the work will be shared on the project website, and invited people to provide ideas and feedback to [email protected] and to join the NHS AI Virtual Hub on Future NHS.

She added that the team has already done some foundational work in looking at how other countries’ national AI strategies are relevant to health and social care, and has begun working with international groups such as the World Health Organisation and the Global Digital Health Partnership.

The move comes almost a year after public sector IT association Socitm produced guidance on using the technology in social care, which emphasised starting small and the early adoption of data standards.

Image from iStock, metamorworks

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