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Post: AI can help build sustainable services – but only if we mitigate its risks

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AI can help build sustainable services – but only if we mitigate its risks
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Concerns about AI should not stop progress. They should prompt us to think about how to apply such powerful processing, argue Rebecca Hughes and Paul Davies

In the next 10 to 15 years, AI technology can help health and care services to shift from a reactive model of care, to a proactive, preventative one, building a more sustainable service. This is possible due to the vast amounts of personal health data captured by smart phones, wearables, and other IT systems.

Central to automation is AI that can use large amounts of datasets to uncover hidden patterns, trends, customer preferences and other useful data that can help inform better decisions. For example, AI-powered smart phone apps allow people to monitor their blood pressure at home, arming them with the knowledge to self-manage their conditions better. Game-changing technology is being rolled out to every NHS radiotherapy department in England to help locate cancer cells 2.5 times quicker.

Errors scaled faster

While AI is exciting, it doesn’t come without risks. Think about it this way: the amplification of any error is scaled faster and further with AI than a mistake made by a single clinician. To uphold the safety of AI solutions, we must make conscious decisions on all aspects of data. HD Labs , who specialise in data orchestration for the public sector, know that a rush to embrace innovative technology can bring risk. This is why they apply the triple-aim framework of health and care to every algorithm development and application of automation: the health and wellbeing of the people; the quality of services provided; the sustainable and efficient use of resources.

Without this approach, unintended consequences can appear, such as the much-cited example of bias when images of mainly white patients were used to train algorithms to spot melanoma.

Standards drive change

We often think of AI and use it as a mine of information – but how can we ensure that the information it gives is meaningful and can be used effectively? AI is an enabler of digital change, but we can’t grasp its full potential without information standards – […]

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