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How to make better decisions about using AI in health and care

Whilst prospective AI vendors are proliferating, discerning between their technologies is becoming harder – that’s why we have supported NHSX to produce a buyer’s guide.

AI is already transforming health and care across the UK. But deciding on whether a specific AI product is right for an organisation remains a real challenge.

COVID-19 presents an enormous opportunity for adopting innovative digital solutions at pace and scale. Health and care organisations have received lots of proposals for AI applications which companies claim will improve the quality and efficiency of their work. But they need to be sure that any AI technology they buy meets the highest standards of safety and efficacy.

How to make better decisions about using AI in health and care

Together with our colleagues at Faculty, we supported NHSX to set up a national AI Lab to accelerate the safe and effective adoption of AI across health and care. The Government announced a £250m investment last year to set up the Lab.

As part of this project, we wrote a Buyer’s Guide to AI in Health and Care which has been published this week. The guide provides detailed advice on ten important questions that organisations need to consider to make well-informed buying decisions about AI products:

  1. What problem are you trying to solve, and is AI the right solution?
  2. Does this product meet regulatory standards?
  3. Does this product perform in line with the manufacturer's claims?
  4. Will this product work in practice?
  5. Can you secure the support you need from staff and service users?
  6. Can you build and maintain a culture of ethical responsibility around this project?
  7. What data protection protocols do you need to safeguard privacy and comply with the law?
  8. Can you manage and maintain this product after you adopt it?
  9. Is your procurement process fair, transparent and competitive?
  10. Can you ensure a commercially and legally robust contractual outcome for your organisation, and the health and care sector?

We also developed an assessment template to be used with the guide, based on existing work at Guy's and St Thomas' NHS Foundation Trust.

The AI Lab is continuing to push exciting frontiers in its mission. If you’re interested to find out more, head to the Lab’s website. We’d also love to hear from if you have thoughts or questions about the practical application of AI in your organisations.


Authors: Harris Lorie and Antonio Weiss

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