NHS needs to make better use of data and AI

Government report warns third parties could instead take advantage of the reams of data the NHS holds

A report by the government has warned the NHS needs to make better use of the opportunities provided by AI and data analysis if it's to compete with private medical companies.

The report, penned by Oxford University's Sir John Bell, said the NHS is in danger of wasting public money if it doesn't start processing the data it holds on patients, which could unlock the answers to many challenges faced by the healthcare sector at present.

Advertisement - Article continues below

If the NHS doesn't act quickly, it could find third parties use the information instead and sell it onto technology companies to the detriment of the public service.

"What you don't want is somebody rocking up and using NHS data as a learning set for the generation of algorithms and then moving the algorithm to San Francisco and selling it so all the profits come back to another jurisdiction," he said.

He explained that it should be an ambition of the government to better use the information it holds, offering better real-time data than simple human monitoring. It should use speech recognition and automated diagnosis technologies to support human monitoring when predicting mental health, cancer and inflammatory disease patient outcomes, for example.

Bell said, however, that the NHS must be wary about using live data for such trials, following on from the recent controversy with the Royal Free Hospital sharing 1.6 million patient records with Google's DeepMind. The government should work more centrally with tech businesses rather than as individual bodies, he added.

Advertisement
Advertisement - Article continues below
Advertisement - Article continues below

"Existing data access agreements in the UK for algorithm development have currently been completed at a local level with mainly large companies and may not share the rewards fairly, given the essential nature of NHS patient data to developing algorithms," warned Bell.

"There is an opportunity for defining a clear framework to better realise the true value for the NHS of the data at a national level, as currently agreements made locally may not share the benefit with other regions," he added in the report.

Featured Resources

Navigating the new normal: A fast guide to remote working

A smooth transition will support operations for years to come

Download now

Putting a spotlight on cyber security

An examination of the current cyber security landscape

Download now

The economics of infrastructure scalability

Find the most cost-effective and least risky way to scale

Download now

IT operations overload hinders digital transformation

Clearing the path towards a modernised system of agreement

Download now
Advertisement

Most Popular

Visit/laptops/29190/how-to-find-ram-speed-size-and-type
Laptops

How to find RAM speed, size and type

24 Jun 2020
Visit/business/policy-legislation/356256/uk-invested-about-ps500m-in-wrong-gps-satellites
Policy & legislation

UK gov buys "wrong" satellites in £500m blunder

29 Jun 2020
Visit/security/34616/the-top-password-cracking-techniques-used-by-hackers
Security

The top 12 password-cracking techniques used by hackers

12 Jun 2020