Artificial intelligence and the healthcare sector

Last Friday, the government revealed how the budget for more investment in cutting-edge technology and innovation would be split, with business secretary Greg Clark announcing that robotics and AI will be receiving £93 million as part of the government’s £1 billion Industrial Strategy Challenge Fund – impacting a range of sectors, including healthcare.

In the healthcare sector, technology has already been used to update patient records, improve care delivery and streamline processes.

Artificial intelligence (AI) is increasingly being heralded as a technology to achieve further breakthroughs in this sector.

>See also: The next necessary step in healthcare: remote mobile solutions

UK consumers are also seeing the advantages of introducing AI into the healthcare sector. Recent research from the enterprise information management company, OpenText, revealed that a the UK public would appreciate quicker diagnoses.

This was identified as the biggest benefit for people surveyed, with one in three (33%) UK residents believing robots would reach a decision on their condition much faster.

As well as faster diagnosis, one in four (25%) believed they would get a more accurate diagnosis from AI.

A quarter of UK consumers (25%) said robot technology would mean they wouldn’t have to rely on booking an appointment with a GP, while 24% said the biggest benefit would be no longer having to take time off work to visit a doctor.

AI would also, almost certainly reduce the strain on the NHS.

>See also: Beware of hackers: people deserve a more secure healthcare system

Mark Barrenechea, CEO at OpenText, said that “Thanks to parallel processing, big data, cloud technology, and advanced algorithms, Artificial Intelligence (AI) and machine learning are becoming more powerful. The analysts are jumping on board, with Forrester predicting that investments in AI will grow 300% in 2017. The Digital Revolution will drive an increasing reliance on self-service technology, machine to machine (M2M) communication and AI, and there is no denying that every job in every industry will be impacted. However, the opportunity for innovation and change is limitless.”

No matter the benefits, AI use cases will be limited if British patients are not comfortable with the technology. However, technological advances have led to a growing level of trust amongst British citizens when it comes to AI and healthcare. In one recent report, PwC revealed that over a quarter of Brits would now trust robots over doctors with heart surgery.

This belief in AI is mirrored across the healthcare sector at a much wider level – OpenText research revealed that nearly two in five (38%) UK consumers would trust the medical diagnosis given by AI and just over 1 in 10 (11%) said they would trust the diagnosis of AI more, or just as much, as a doctor’s diagnosis.


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Nick Ismail

Nick Ismail is a former editor for Information Age (from 2018 to 2022) before moving on to become Global Head of Brand Journalism at HCLTech. He has a particular interest in smart technologies, AI and...