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Digital, Insights

Supporting buyers of AI in health and care

Organisations need guidance on weighing up AI-specific issues when making procurement decisions. The PSC has supported NHSX to produce a targeted checklist to help.

The unprecedented context of COVID-19 presents an enormous opportunity for the uptake of innovative digital solutions at pace and scale. Health and care organisations are receiving multiple proposals for AI applications that may improve the quality and ease the burden of their work. At the same time, organisations need to be assured that any AI technology they do buy meets the highest standards of safety and efficacy.

Supporting buyers of AI in health and care

Specific characteristics of AI give rise to important considerations for buyers, over and above those related to digital products in general. As one of the first outputs of its AI Lab, NHSX has put together a short reference checklist to assist the decision-making of those responsible for procuring AI solutions in their organisations. We were delighted to support this work, together with our partner colleagues at Faculty. We are now working with NHSX to produce a more comprehensive Buyers’ Guide, due to be published in the next couple of months.


The checklist poses – and offers guidance on – the following 10 questions:

  1. What is the problem you are trying to solve, and is AI the right kind of solution?
  2. Can this technology be procured through a transparent, fair, competitive process?
  3. Can this product do what it claims it can?
  4. Are the users of this product primed to use it?
  5. Does this product meet regulatory standards?
  6. What information sharing and data protection protocols should you put in place to protect privacy and comply with your information governance policy?
  7. What agreements should you put in place to protect any intellectual property generated through your organisation’s use of this AI product?
  8. Do you have the necessary storage and computing requirements?
  9. Will your existing systems work effectively alongside the new technology to ensure a clear and reliable workflow?
  10. Can you manage the maintenance burden of this new technology?


For more detail, see the full checklist, which includes a glossary of some of the technical terminology in the field. If you have any comments on the checklist or any experiences of AI procurement to share, please contact the AI Lab on

Authors: Harris Lorie and Antonio Weiss

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