New code to support AI innovation ecosystem in the NHS

The government has today published a new code of conduct designed to ensure artificial intelligence and other data-driven technologies used by the NHS are on point, safe and secure; and ultimately to support innovation in the most challenges areas of healthcare, such as dementia and cancer.

Drawn up with support and input from industry, academics and patient groups, the code encourages technology companies to meet a “gold-standard set of principles to protect patient data to the highest standards”, to help health and care providers choose safe and effective technology.

Health and social care secretary, Matt Hancock said that while AI has the potential to save lives, numerous challenges must be addressed before it can be successful.

”We need to create an ecosystem of innovation to allow this type of technology to flourish in the NHS and support our incredible workforce to save lives, by equipping clinicians with the tools to provide personalised treatments.

“AI must be used responsibly and our code of conduct sets a gold-standard set of rules to ensure patient data is always protected and the systems we use are some of the safest in the world,” he said.

AI technology is already being used across the NHS to improve the early diagnosis of heart disease and lung cancer, to reduce the number of unnecessary operations performed due to false positives, assist research by better matching patients to clinical trials, and support the planning of care for patients with complex needs.

The code's 10 principles set out how the government will make it easier for companies to work with the NHS to develop new technologies and what the NHS expects in return, which includes a “fair reward” for allowing companies access to its data pool.

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