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Artificial Intelligence in UK Healthcare

An analysis by Andy Smith, Medical Training Magazine publisher

British Prime Minister Theresa May made a speech about AI in healthcare on 21st May prompting a response from The Alan Turing Institute CEO Sir Alan Wilson, as released by The Alan Turing Institute May 21st 2018  (www.turing.ac.uk) The Alan Turing Institute is a major UK research facility looking at major societal and economic challenges.

In the response Sir Alan commented, “it is clear that data science and artificial intelligence will revolutionise healthcare.”

He went on to give examples of some of the work currently underway, such as research with the Cystic Fibrosis Trust, which has increased the accuracy of referrals for lung transplants by 35% despite being a recent development.

A new alliance with University College London Hospital (UCLH) is to apply algorithms to such challenges as waiting times in accident and emergency cases. Nearly 24% of patients in the UK waited more than 4 hours for this treatment. This agreement with UCLH is for three years and already spurred a new project to identify patients who are likely to miss scheduled doctor appointments, the next stage in this study will be to trial interventions such as text messages as reminders of, and for the need for such tests as pap smear tests.

More action followed with the British Heart Foundation applying data science to cardiovascular medicine and of course ongoing efforts toward data security. A recent study by Deloitte titled ‘The Future is Here’ focuses on the Augmented Workforce, using machine learning to support healthcare practitioners in diagnosing, for example.

The authors comment, “Today’s hospitals are asking, ‘How can we hire and retain more nurses to combat our labor shortage?” The question they should ask instead is, “How can we augment nursing roles so that high performing nurses wouldn’t want to work anywhere else”.

The supply of nurses is unlikely to be adequate, and the same could be said of Doctors, so it seems that AI, AR, or AX, as the industry is now referring to them all, needs to be studied and adopted at speed.

Deloitte’s study can be found here.

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