The newly announced National Artificial Intelligence (AI) Lab will be used to “train” algorithms and develop “ethical” frameworks, Matt Hancock has said.
Appearing via video at NHS Expo, the health secretary said the lab was part of a “major transformation” to improve digital health and patient experience.
“[The lab] will boost the national research capability with a controlled environment where we can train algorithms, trial new concepts and scale up the best ideas,” he told the audience in Manchester.
“Crucially, it will ensure we get the right laws and ethical frameworks in place as well as the right technology. This is ultimately what it is all about.
“We care about the technology because we care about people. Clinicians will have more time to look after their patients and themselves and patients will be more in control of their own health and their own healthcare.”
Hancock was due to appear at a session hosted by NHSX on day two of NHS Expo, but was ultimately a no-show.
Addressing the audience in a pre-recorded video instead, the health secretary made reference to the new GP IT Futures framework, which he said was the “next step” in making medical records easily accessible.
“It will be as easy for a GP surgery to switch provider as it is for a small business to switch bank accounts. That is why we’ve published the framework – to bring modern, standards-based infrastructure to primary care and making sure we’ve got consistent functionality across all of general practice,” he added.
“Starting from January, under the new contract, providers will have to show that their systems are interoperable, secure [and] easily upgradable, or they will not get that contract.”
On NHSX, Hancock said the organisation brought together the “powers, money and policy leaders” to further technology in the NHS.
“We started the journey to agree a common language of technical standards, so systems can talk to each other and the essential diagnostic information can get where it’s needed,” he added.
“We need a shared language for recording diagnoses and medicines, a consistent way of capturing and exchanging information, and open standards published on the web.
“This isn’t just some niche issue driven by tech geeks and enthusiasts and open data obsessives. This is about saving lives and making life easier for staff.”