Simon Stevens plans to change how the health service pays for treatments, providing incentives for the introduction of artificial intelligence and machine learning.
The chief executive of NHS England invited technology providers and staff to propose ways to help the health service become a world leader in the use of such technologies, at a health conference held by thinktank Reform on 5 June.
“We are seeing an artificial intelligence revolution that will be a big part of our future over the next five years, with technologies that can cut the time patients wait for scan results and ease the burden on hard working staff,” said Stevens.
“We want the NHS to be first out of the blocks, so from April next year we propose to change the way we fund care so that NHS organisations who invest in this world leading technology will be properly rewarded for doing so.
“We’re therefore kicking off a global ‘call for evidence’ for NHS staff and technology innovators to come forward with their best ideas for how we should adjust our financial frameworks to best incentivise the use of safe and evidence based AI and machine learning technologies across the NHS.”
Machine learning systems are showing promise in analysing clinical images for signs of disease, in some cases matching or exceeding human experts in accuracy. However, the best results often involve software and humans working together, such as by technology handling routine, clear-cut cases so people can focus on tricky judgements.
Sir Simon also discussed other innovations recently introduced by the NHS under its innovation and technology payment programme, including software that creates a digital 3D model of a heart allowing better diagnosis of coronary disease.
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