UCLH aims to bring ‘game-changing’ benefits of artificial intelligence to NHS patients, from cancer diagnosis to reducing wait times Hannah Devlin Science correspondent One of the country’s biggest hospitals has unveiled sweeping plans to use artificial intelligence to carry out tasks traditionally performed by doctors and nurses, from diagnosing cancer on CT scans to deciding which A&E patients are seen first. The three-year partnership between University College London Hospitals (UCLH) and the Alan Turing Institute aims to bring the benefits of the machine learning revolution to the NHS on an unprecedented scale.

Prof Bryan Williams, director of research at University College London Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust, said that the move could have a major impact on patient outcomes, drawing parallels with the transformation of the consumer experience by companies such as Amazon and Google. “It’s going to be a game-changer,” he said.

“You can go on your phone and book an airline ticket, decide what movies you’re going to watch or order a pizza … it’s all about AI,” he said. “On the NHS, we’re nowhere near sophisticated enough.

We’re still sending letters out, which is extraordinary.” At the heart of the partnership, in which UCLH is investing a “substantial” but unnamed sum, is the belief that machine learning algorithms can provide new ways of diagnosing disease, identifying people at risk of illness and directing resources. In theory, doctors and nurses could be responsively deployed on wards, like Uber drivers gravitating to locations with the highest demand at certain times of day.

But the move will also trigger concerns about privacy, cyber security and the shifting role of health professionals. The first project will focus on improving the hospital’s accident and emergency department, which like many hospitals is failing to meet government waiting time targets. Read more from theguardian.com…

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