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Realising the potential of AI in the UK healthcare sector

techUK hosted a panel discussion at the AI Summit to explore the potential of AI for the UK healthcare sector.

On Wednesday 10 May techUK brought together leading experts in machine learning and artificial intelligence (AI) to explore the opportunities and benefits to the UK health sector that could come from the adoption and implementation of AI. The packed session, with standing room only, took place at the AI Summit in London, where techUK was a partner. Antony Walker, techUK’s Deputy CEO also gave a keynote address at the Summit.

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Andreas Haimboeck-Tichy, Director of Health and Life Sciences, IBM UKI, opened the discussion saying that healthcare is ripe for disruption and needs to change. Andreas highlighted that with funding always an issue the key focus should be on creating a sustainable healthcare system with better outcomes. He argued that augmented intelligence can help achieve better decision making and better outcomes, his view being that discussions should be focused on a man plus machine, not man versus machine.

The event also heard from Dominic King, Senior Clinician Scientist, Google DeepMind, who confirmed that the UK is a world leader in AI. However, Dominic outlined how many hospitals are still stuck in the pre-smart phone age with silos of data in systems that do not speak to each other with much of the data still on paper. Dominic explained that alongside research into AI, particularly on imaging, DeepMind is working with the Royal Free Hospital creating a way of delivering alerts which help Clinicians to identify Acute Kidney Injury.

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Dr. Lydia Drumright, Lecturer in Clinical Informatics, University of Cambridge spoke about how the real benefit of AI in healthcare lies in its ability to help standardise behaviours and protocols to reduce differentiated outcomes and treatments for patients. Key to realising this is fully integrated electronic health and social care records to provide a full picture of the patient. She explained that in order to bring patients along the AI journey, organisations should engage society, listen carefully, and standardise information governance and ethics policies.

The event closed with an engaging question and answer session which raised topics including how best to ensure the UK remains a leading voice in AI and healthcare, the auditability of AI, and how to bridge the digital skills gap. It also looked to the future where an app may one day be able to tell you to see a healthcare professional or change your behaviour before you realise you have a problem.

techUK was delighted to host this lively discussion on the potential of AI in the UK healthcare sector and looks forward to further work in this important area.


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