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Editorials

New AI laboratory for the NHS

BMJ 2019; 366 doi: https://doi.org/10.1136/bmj.l5434 (Published 13 September 2019) Cite this as: BMJ 2019;366:l5434
  1. Adam Steventon, director of data analytics,
  2. Sarah R Deeny, assistant director of data analytics,
  3. Josh Keith, senior fellow,
  4. Arne T Wolters, senior analytics manager
  1. Health Foundation, London EC4Y 8AP, UK
  1. Correspondence to: A Steventon adam.steventon{at}health.org.uk

The public must be engaged in AI innovations to ensure real benefits for health

In August 2019 the UK government announced a welcome boost for artificial intelligence (AI) in healthcare, with £250m (€280m; $310m) for a national laboratory in England.1 Public imagination is captivated by robots, but the new lab will prioritise technologies more likely to benefit the health system and patients in the short term, including algorithms to predict demand for hospital beds and tools that identify signs of disease from diagnostic images, all underpinned by a focus on ethical and fair AI.2

Clear priorities

Many healthcare professionals rely on paper records and outdated technology, and struggle to access basic information at the point of care. Investment is needed, but this must be matched with a credible national strategy for AI and data analytics that focuses on the needs of patients and the health system rather than technology for technology’s sake. The priorities of NHSX, the national agency for digital transformation in healthcare that will host the AI lab,3 include reducing clinicians’ workloads, giving …

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