Digital Health Lead, ABHI
By working together, regulators, innovators and healthcare providers can help ensure that AI is used responsibly and effectively, for the benefit of patients and society as a whole.
Artificial intelligence (AI) is poised to revolutionise the field of medicine, offering the potential to improve patient outcomes, reduce costs and increase efficiencies. However, as with any new technology, there are also risks and challenges associated with the use of AI in healthcare. As a result, there is a growing need for regulation and investment to ensure that AI is used responsibly and effectively.
Sector-specific or broad-based AI regulation?
The UK Government is currently consulting on the general regulation of AI. The direction of travel appears to be ceding responsibility to sector regulators to implement a set of general principles. This is in marked contracts to the approach being taken in the EU.
Should this be the final position of the Government, for the healthtech industry, it will put greater emphasis on the Software and AI Regulatory Roadmap currently laid out by the Medicines and Healthcare Products Regulatory Agency (MHRA). This roadmap sets out how AI-powered medical devices and software and if implemented fully and swiftly could help set the way forward not just for the UK but globally.
There is a growing need for regulation and investment to ensure that AI is used responsibly and effectively.
Risk of falling behind in global context
There is a need for further investment in AI research, development and deployment. While the UK has made significant strides in this area, we cannot match the level of investment in countries such as China and the USA.
We should therefore seek to leverage other differentiating factors, such as NHS data assets, alongside significant funding to create a sectoral advantage. Without this approach, the UK risks falling behind in this critical field, which could have implications for patient outcomes, industrial policy and the overall health of the nation.
Need for collaboration in safe implementation
We have to be optimistic about the potential of AI in healthcare. With the right investment, AI has the potential to revolutionise the field of medicine, offering clinicians new insights and treatments that were previously impossible and improving the efficiency of service delivery.
With the right regulatory framework, it can deliver this safely and effectively. By working together, regulators, innovators and healthcare providers can help ensure that AI is used responsibly and effectively — for the benefit of patients and society as a whole.