Government Plans To Provide Subsidies To AI Adopting Hospitals

The NHS is a crucial health service provided by the UK government.However like many non-profit organisations, there is no incentives to maximise profit and therefore the NHS tends to be wasteful.

Although it isn’t the magical cure to the NHS’s wastefulness, the UK government believe that AI is definitely part of the solution.Recently Simon Stevens , the the eighth Chief Executive of the National Health Service in England, elaborated on his plans for a more efficient NHS at the Reform Health conference. Aside from positive adoption of AI in the industry there is also some bad news for certain medical specialisations.For example Mr Stevens said Radiographers would be replaced with capital in order to achieve the productivity targets that were agreed on in order for the NHS to enjoy a £20 billion increase in funding in 2018.

A large annual expense for the NHS comes from the costs of breast cancer screenings.This is due not only to the cost of the machinery and cost of operating it but also because each individual requires two clinicians to go over it and make a diagnosis.This imposes a large opportunity cost for the NHS in terms of where else these funds could have been allocated (e.g. better training for doctors). Implementation of AI based systems could lead to large cost reductions and faster diagnoses.This is one of many possible applications for AI in the NHS.

London's Moorfields Eye Hospital, where pioneering AI research with eye diseases is being conducted.

London's Moorfields Eye Hospital, where pioneering AI research with eye diseases is being conducted.

A hospital (above) in London has been successfully experimenting with AI in diagnosing eye diseases. The experiments concluded with AI having a success rate of 94% over 50+ eye diseases, which although good may not be good enough to be a full replacement to doctors in the near future in regard to life or death situations.

The model of care is the 1948 model, the GP in the surgery, the community practice and district nurse in the car, the hospital with consultants and junior doctors in white coats. We don’t use AI much in healthcare and we should.
— Simon Eccles, NHS Chief Clinical Information Officer for Health and Care

However after the failure of the AI NHS project “GP at hand” , which ended with a £21.6 million funding gap and without a large user-base, many are pessimistic about this initiative to introduce AI into the NHS as it may end with a similar fate.If the scheme goes according to plan however we may see an increase in the quality and quantity of services provided by the NHS in the near future, on the other hand however if poorly implemented, there may be no increase in productive efficiency and we may actually see the reverse, manifesting itself in longer queuing times and fewer available doctors.