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The Department of Health and Social Care (DHSC) and Matt Hancock MP have announced a £250 million funding boost into artificial intelligence (AI) to enhance the health and lives of patients.

Helping combat some of the most pressing issues in the healthcare sector, including earlier cancer detection, new dementia treatments and more personalised care, the new National Artificial Intelligence Lab will harness the power of AI to improve patients’ lives.

Announced on the 8th of August 2019, the AI Lab will bring together the industry’s best academics, specialists and technology companies.

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The AI Lab’s work could:

  • improve cancer screening by speeding up the results of tests, including mammograms, brain scans, eye scans and heart monitoring
  • use predictive models to better estimate future needs of beds, drugs, devices or surgeries
  • identify which patients could be more easily treated in the community, reducing the pressure on the NHS and helping patients receive treatment closer to home
  • identify patients most at risk of diseases such as heart disease or dementia, allowing for earlier diagnosis and cheaper, more focused, personalised prevention
  • build systems to detect people at risk of post-operative complications, infections or requiring follow-up from clinicians, improving patient safety and reducing readmission rates
  • automate routine admin tasks to free up clinicians so more time can be spent with patients

The lab will sit within NHSX, the new organisation that will oversee the digitisation of the health and care system, in collaboration with the Accelerated Access Collaborative.

Simon Stevens, NHS England Chief Executive, said: “Carefully targeted AI is now ready for practical application in health services, and the investment announced today is another step in the right direction to help the NHS become a world leader in using these important technologies.

“In the first instance it should help personalise NHS screening and treatments for cancer, eye disease and a range of other conditions, as well as freeing up staff time, and our new NHS AI Lab will ensure the benefits of NHS data and innovation are fully harnessed for patients in this country.”

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