The AIMed-NHS AI Lab virtual conference is taking place now. According to Simon Madden, Director of Policy and Strategy at NHSx, the digital unit of NHS, on top of the AI Virtual Hub which aimed to involve those who are interested bringing AI into health and care through discussion forums to share their knowledge, mentioned by Indra Joshi, NHSx Director of Artificial Intelligence (AI) early on, there are many other projects happening to support the adoption of AI technology and skill across the UK.
For examples, the government is hosting 2500 AI and data science conversion courses and giving out 1000 scholarships to those from underrepresented background. Further funding will also be given to attune with the £50 million given to the five Centres of Excellence in digital pathology and imaging set up two years ago. The UK is also one of the founding members of the Global Digital Partnership, a consortium constituting the World Health Organization (WHO) and government agencies to outline standards and policy framework on different areas like interoperability, cybersecurity and so on.
Nevertheless, in order to move the field forward and allow AI to deliver its real potential in medicine and healthcare, there is a need for good quality, linkable and accessible data. As such, the UK government has drafted a data strategy. Madden said this strategy will be released in autumn with key principles around empowering healthcare staff and system leaders to be confident in handling data through simplified information governance.
“We learnt throughout the pandemic that cutting through a lot of red tape, cutting a lot of the bureaucracy and giving clear guidance to frontline clinicians about they should handle data and how they will be empowered to handle data had quite a sizeable impact,” Madden says. The strategy will also address public trust and transparency while ensuring data-sharing across sectors to promote boarder integration of health and social care is a key priority.
Ultimately, Madden added the strategy will facilitate the understanding of the differing levels of maturity in different areas so that data can be used to plan and commission health and care services and high-quality research more effectively. “So, it’s an exciting agenda for data and as you might expect a lot of resources to deliver this and the expertise don’t always reside in the NHS and therefore, we need to really ensure that we have the right partnership”.
As such, the new Centre of Expertise set up a few months ago and due to have a soft launch will play an important role support what is detailed in the strategy as well as supporting data-driven technologies and opportunities. This new Centre is sited within NHSx and will back the NHS and care organization to navigate partnership in a way that will result in fair benefits on both sides. It will also ensure the NHS to extract values in those partnerships to benefit patients and the system in the long run.