NHS patients will be among the first in the world to benefit from new artificial intelligence (AI) technologies thanks to a £50m boost announced this week.
The AI in Health and Care Award forms part of the NHS AI Lab and is managed by the Accelerated Access Collaborative in partnership with NHSX and the National Institute for Health Research.
A range of AI-powered innovations which can rapidly and accurately analyse breast cancer screening scans and assess emergency stroke patients will be tested and scaled, helping clinicians deliver the right treatment faster.
Take-home technology could also see patients given devices and software that can turn their smartphone into a clinical grade medical device for monitoring kidney disease, or a wearable patch to detect irregular heartbeats, one of the leading causes of strokes and heart attacks.
The NHS has been at the forefront of the AI revolution with the creation of the NHS AI Lab, with these tools and products part of the £140m AI in Health and Care Award programme, each receiving a share of over £50m.
The package also includes funding to support the research, development and testing of promising ideas which could be used in the NHS in future to help speed up diagnosis or improve care for a range of conditions including sepsis, cancer and Parkinson’s.
AI products will be trialled in several NHS organisations before potentially being adopted across the health service.
Each product will undergo robust testing and independent evaluation to ensure they are effective, accurate, safe and value for money.
“The launch of this new award scheme for Ai innovators in healthcare is thoroughly welcomed by the AHSN Network. Our 15 regional AHSNs have supported a number of the selected companies over the past few years, and we are delighted to see them get this deserved recognition.”
Neville Young, Director of Enterprise and Innovation, Yorkshire & Humber AHSN.
Subject to contracting, successful products to be spread include:
- Healthy IO - will spread their AI powered app that turns a smartphone into a clinical grade medical device capable of detecting albuminuria, an early warning sign of Chronic Kidney Disease which could help patients with diabetes.
- Irhythm Technologies - will spread their wearable ECG monitoring patch and service that utilises AI-led processing and analysis to help diagnose atrial fibrillation.
- Brainomix will share their digital tools, used to assess emergency stroke patients, to a number of NHS sites following recent successful deployment at Royal Berkshire NHS Trust.
As well as testing and scaling AI products, the NHS AI Lab has also published updated guidance to help local health and care organisations ensure they ask the right questions when looking to buy AI products.
The new AI Buyer's Guide will help local NHS bodies walk the line between the exciting possibilities presented by these technologies with the need to ensure that any products our organisations buy meet the highest standards of safety and effectiveness.
The AI in Health and Care Award will distribute £140m over three years, with the next round of applications set to open in the autumn.