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Artificial Intelligence in the NHS

When we think of Aviation, and how much it has evolved over time, we have gone from wooden wing planes to 200+ passenger planes and 36.4 million take off per year. The aviation industry is not to dissimilar to the medical sector in terms of technology, though it far supersedes it in safety.


The technological advances in black box thinking, in that the information transmitted when a black box is discovered at a crash site, and it survives both significant heat and impact to give investigators an idea of cause of crash. The aviation industry is moving its thinking to real time information being transmitted via technology back to earth in real time, covering whether a plan deviates from its intended flight path, to whether it drops altitude, to whether pilots are utilising their controls and skill accordingly, especially in unforeseen situations, they now start to use AI of flight patterns and behaviours to ensure the safety of travelers.



So with the introduction of AI in the medical sector, the NHS has now rolled out its new code of conduct, in which med tech organisations utilising AI for medical improvements within the NHS will have to abide by.


This is being rolled out with a view to increased safety within the NHS and to ensure only the best systems are being commissioned and used. As a result of the code of conduct, med tech companies will have to meet the high standards in order to work with the NHS.

It is hoped that the code of conduct will make it easier for med tech suppliers to understand the 10 main principles, standards and requirements of the NHS. With the code, med tech suppliers can then create the safe, secure and effective technology that reassures patients that their privacy is protected through safe systems, while there continues to be enhancements in the delivery of care.


Dr Simon Eccles, Chief Clinical Information Officer, explains; “Parts of the NHS have already shown the potential impact AI could have in the future of the NHS in reading scans, for example, to enable clinicians to focus on the most difficult cases. This new code sets the bar companies will need to meet to bring their products into the NHS so we can ensure patients can benefit from not just the best new technology, but also the safest and most secure.”

Some successful projects using AI in the NHS include a system that predicts survival rates for ovarian cancer patients. Another project uses AI to detect heart disease and lung cancer. In another case, 1 million eye scans were anonymously shared with Deepmind to create an algorithm which will identify the early signs of macular degeneration and diabetic retinopathy.

Speaking about the new code of conduct, Health and Social Care Secretary Matt Hancock says; “AI must be used responsibly and the NHS code of conduct sets a gold-standard set of rules to ensure patient data is always protected, and the systems we use are some of the safest in the world.



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