NHS England plans to publish a code of conduct for the use of artificial intelligence (AI) in healthcare later this year.

Harpreet Sood, associate CCIO at NHS England, made the announcement at The King’s Fund’s Digital Health and Care Congress 2018 on 11 July.

When questioned by an audience member about concerns regarding AI use in the NHS, Sood said NHS England was hoping to publish a “basic terminology of what AI means” and a code of conduct later in 2018.

Sood added that the documents will help provide ‘principles’, ‘guidance’ and ‘transparency’ for the use of AI within the NHS.

The potential benefits of AI use in the NHS has become a hot topic in recent months, with the Prime Minister announcing in May 2018 that the NHS and technology companies should use AI as a “new weapon” in research.

However, AI use has been marred by data protection issues – including an investigation by the Information Commissioner’s Office (ICO) which looked into Royal Free London NHS Foundation Trust sending data to DeepMind to test an application, Streams, an acute kidney injury alert app.

Furthermore, Eric Topol, an expert in cardiology, genetics and digital medicine, is currently leading a report into the training needs of NHS staff to use AI and robotics.

As it stands, however, there are no official guidelines from NHS England.