NHS to invest in technology to predict patients’ illnesses

Today Health Secretary Matt Hancock is expected to set out his aim for people to have fire more years of healthy, independent life by 2035. Part of his plan to achieve this is to increase the use of technology to predict patients’ illnesses and target advice at sections of the population.

See below for comment from Mark Frankish Data Scientist,  SAS UK & Ireland  on how AI is the next major investment area for the NHS helping to drastically improve the NHS’ forecasting abilities, moving the focus away from treating to preventing disease.

Today, ten times more money is spent on treating disease than prevention – £97bn of public money versus £8bn trying to prevent it. These numbers clearly do not stack up. To address the shortfall in prevention, artificial intelligence (AI) must be the next major investment area for the NHS. By introducing deep learning and machine learning, data from past case notes, biomedical imaging and health monitors could be used to advance the use of predictive diagnostics and improve response times in patient care, improving the NHS’ forecasting abilities. 

“According to the tech investment plans already announced by  Theresa May, the government claims it will see “at least 50,000 people” each year being able to get an early diagnosis of several cancers, which it believes will save around 20,000 lives each year by 2033. Now we need to build on that foundation. 

“Although the NHS has always been a relentless producer of data it has a longstanding problem with knowing how to store and use it effectively. To ensure the right care is delivered to patients there needs to be an improvement in decision-making with the data available. By investing in a technology-driven, value-focused model of care, the NHS will be able to improve its ability to analyse large volumes of data and focus more on preventing disease.’’

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