A decade ago, you’d be forgiven for thinking the promise of Artificial Intelligence (AI) transforming areas of health and care was a far-fetched notion. But it’s quickly becoming a reality, with rapid innovation within diagnostics, screening, system efficiency and other areas.
The practical implementation of AI in health and care is still a relatively new space, yet to establish clear best practice for implementing AI across organisations and managing change. This uncertainty is challenging for leaders who are expected to keep up with the rapid pace of technical innovation.
The NHS AI Lab
The NHS AI Lab was set up to accelerate the safe and effective adoption of AI in health and care. Its mission is to create a sustainable health and care system which achieves better outcomes, equality and fairness for all. It does this by supporting AI technologies that have potential to improve the quality of health and care services, while building a robust ethical and regulatory framework to ensure patient and citizen safety.
Working with NHSX on the NHS AI Lab and the AI in Health and Care Award, we had the opportunity to speak with many specialists and people across the UK about their experiences implementing AI, the lessons they’ve learned and the change AI has supported in organisations.
Some initial challenges experienced by early AI adopters will be familiar to anyone who has experienced digital change in health and care. The complexity and unfamiliarity of AI can add additional barriers to effective adoption. Despite this, many have seen widespread positive impacts for their efforts, from improving care to saving money and assisting in COVID-19 responses.
By sharing the lessons learned from these organisations, we hope to highlight crucial factors which will help smooth the experience journey for organisations thinking of implementing AI in the future.
As part of its work the NHS AI Lab provides resources for those looking to understand, develop or implement AI, including case studies, guidance and research. The NHS AI Lab is committed to bringing people in the NHS and care together to share lessons and help organisations learn from one another. It has recently launched the AI Virtual Hub on NHS Futures to provide a space for collaboration and best practice sharing for those interested in the development and adoption of AI in health and care.
AI in health and care is rarely just ‘plug in and play’
Even ‘off-the-shelf’, pre-developed and pre-validated AI solutions require a level of iteration and development before they can be used. AI models may need to be trained on data that’s specific to an organisation or adjusted to make sure it’s compatible with existing systems and workflows.