In May 2017, National Health Service (NHS) hospitals in England and Scotland were virtually shut down for several days because of the global WannaCry cyberattack. The attack resulted in the cancellation of thousands of appointments and operations and some NHS services had to turn away noncritical emergencies. Up to 70,000 devices, including computers, MRI scanners, blood-storage refrigerators, and operating room equipment may have been affected. And in 2016, the Hollywood Presbyterian Medical Center in Los Angeles paid $17,000 in bitcoin to a hacker to unlock data that had been encrypted in an attack. Hospital staff struggled to deal with the loss of email and access to patient data.
In 2017, The Economist declared that data, rather than oil, had become the world's most valuable resource. The refrain has been repeated ever since. Organizations across every industry have been and continue to invest heavily in data and analytics. But like oil, data and analytics have their dark side. According to IDG's State of the CIO 2020 report, 37 percent of IT leaders say that data analytics will drive the most IT investment at their organization this year. Insights gained from analytics and actions driven by machine learning algorithms can give organizations a competitive advantage, but mistakes can be costly in terms of reputation, revenue, or even lives.
"Ten years of transition in a month" is a common explanation of how the pandemic is driving the use of telemedicine. Before the virus, video appointments accounted for just 1% of the 350 m consultations that the UK National Health Service manages each year. Companies like Docly, eConsult, and AccuRx are changing this. The latter states that 90% of primary care clinics in England are now using their video-calling method. Remote surgery is the most dramatic type of telemedicine.
An NHS drone is being used to courier Covid-19 samples, blood tests and personal protective equipment between hospitals in England. It is hoped that the trials, backed by a £1.3m grant from the UK Space Agency, can establish a network of air corridors for electric drones to navigate using GPS. The remote-controlled drone, which will be piloted by an ex-military fast jet or helicopter instructor, will initially fly between Essex's Broomfield hospital, Basildon hospital and the Pathology First laboratory in Basildon. The project is the idea of Apian, a healthcare drone startup founded by Christopher Law and Hammad Jeilani. "Covid-19 has highlighted challenges in NHS supply chain logistics," said Law.
Last month, NHSX published "A Buyer's Guide to AI in Health and Care" (the Guide). As Artificial Intelligence (AI) plays an increasingly important role in healthcare, the Guide is a timely reminder of steps manufacturers, insurers and hospitals can take to mitigate liability risks. NHSX has responsibility for setting policy concerning the use of technology in the NHS. It is alive to liability risks and wants AI products to meet the highest standards of safety and effectiveness. The Guide is aimed at purchasers of AI products in the NHS, such as senior managers and procurement departments, but those manufacturing and supplying such products will also find it a useful resource.
"We've witnessed ten years of change in a month" is a typical description of how the pandemic is accelerating the use of telemedicine. Before the virus, video appointments made up only 1% of the 350m consultations which Britain's National Health Service handles each year. Companies like Docly, eConsult and AccuRx are changing that. The latter claims that 90% of primary care clinics in England are now using its video-calling system. The most dramatic form of telemedicine is remote surgery.
Compared to the financial services sector where blockchain and AI have, in many ways, revolutionised operations, healthcare has been slower to move with these types of innovation. At the same time, people are living longer but present more care demands on the health system, leading to bed shortages and longer wait lists for treatment. With the NHS creaking under ever-increasing pressures to serve a growing population of the elderly and obese, and all on unsustainable budgets, mobilising technology to provide relief from this strain seems like the only solution to an unfolding crisis. One major trend in healthcare is intervention; the growing focus on prevention rather than cure. The growth in sedentary lifestyles imposes an unsustainable burden on healthcare provision.
The Department of Health and Social Care has announced £50m funding for three digital pathology and imaging artificial intelligence (AI) centres in Coventry, Leeds and London. The centres were set up in 2018 with funding from the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy. Two other centres are located in Oxford and Glasgow. The three centres to share the latest tranche of funding will deliver digital upgrades to pathology and imaging services across an additional 38 NHS trusts, said the department. Health and social care secretary Matt Hancock said: "I am determined we do all we can to save lives by spotting cancer sooner. Bringing the benefits of artificial intelligence to the front line of our health service with this funding is another step in that mission."
Patients will benefit from major improvements in technology to speed up the diagnosis of deadly diseases like cancer thanks to further investment in the use of artificial intelligence across the NHS. A £50 million funding boost will scale up the work of existing Digital Pathology and Imaging Artificial Intelligence Centres of Excellence, which were launched in 2018 to develop cutting-edge digital tools to improve the diagnosis of disease. The 3 centres set to receive a share of the funding, based in Coventry, Leeds and London, will deliver digital upgrades to pathology and imaging services across an additional 38 NHS trusts, benefiting 26.5 million patients across England. Pathology and imaging services, including radiology, play a crucial role in the diagnosis of diseases and the funding will lead to faster and more accurate diagnosis and more personalised treatments for patients, freeing up clinicians' time and ultimately saving lives. Technology is a force for good in our fight against the deadliest diseases – it can transform and save lives through faster diagnosis, free up clinicians to spend time with their patients and make every pound in the NHS go further.
The government has pledged £50 million for further investment in artificial intelligence to improve diagnostics across the NHS. The investment aims to speed up the diagnosis of deadly diseases like cancer through delivering digital upgrades to pathology and imaging services across the country. It will scale up the work of the existing Digital Pathology and Imaging AI Centres of Excellence, launched in 2018 to develop cutting-edge digital tools to improve the diagnosis of disease. The three centres set to receive a share of the funding, based in Coventry, Leeds and London, will deliver digital upgrades to pathology and imaging services across an additional 38 NHS Trusts, benefiting some 26.5 million patients across England, according to the Department of Health and Social Care (DHSC). It's hoped the funding will lead to faster and more accurate diagnosis and more personalised treatments for patients, freeing up clinicians' time and ultimately saving lives.