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UK to push earlier diagnosis and better treatment with 5 AI-driven technology centres

Published on 06/11/18 at 12:34pm

The UK’s Business Secretary has announced the introduction of five specialist collaborative centres across the UK which with leverage advanced digital technology to improve healthcare and reach diagnosis earlier.

The five centres of excellence for digital pathology and imaging, which will be situated at universities and NHS facilities in Leeds, Oxford, Coventry, Glasgow and London, will aim to provide more personalised and precision care for patients by utilising medical technology to provide targeted care and free up time for clinical professionals.

They will be funded through the government’s investment programme, the Industrial Strategy Challenge Fund, which is managed by UK Research and Innovation, and will act as hubs for doctors, businesses and academics to collaborate on the development of products; some of the major companies driving this collaboration include Roche Diagnostics, GE Healthcare, Siemens and Philips.

Echoing the importance of the technology underlined in the government’s Industrial Strategy, the centres will use artificial intelligence accelerate diagnosis for patients and achieve better treatment outcomes, particularly in cancer. They will also invest heavily in large-scale genomics and image analysis to build a greater understanding of how challenging conditions develop in order to provide more effective treatment in a more timely manner.

“AI has the potential to revolutionise healthcare and improve lives for the better. That’s why our modern Industrial Strategy puts pioneering technologies at the heart of our plans to build a Britain fit for the future,” said Business Secretary Greg Clark. “The innovation at these new centres will help diagnose disease earlier to give people more options when it comes to their treatment, and make reporting more efficient, freeing up time for our much-admired NHS staff time to spend on direct patient care.”

Health Secretary Matt Hancock, who the same week launched a new strategy for the NHS focusing on prevention of diseases, also commented: “Artificial intelligence will play a crucial role in the future of the NHS – and we need to embrace it by introducing systems which can speed up diagnoses, improve patient outcomes, make every pound go further and give clinicians more time with their patients.

“As part of our long-term plan, we will transform the NHS into an ecosystem of enterprise and innovation that allows technology to flourish and evolve.”

The centres are planned to be operational in 2019.

Matt Fellows

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