NHSX has published a buyers checklist to aid trusts and healthcare providers in the procurement of artificial intelligence solutions.

The Buyer’s Checklist for AI in Health and Care is designed for procurement teams, chief finance officers, service transformation and commissioning leads, data-scientists and analysists, and other chief officers tasked with transforming care through digital solutions.

It’s one of the first pieces of work to come out of the national AI Lab announced in August 2019.

The onset of coronavirus has accelerated the uptake of digital solutions, the guide states, but procurement teams need to be assured that AI technology meets the “highest standards” of safety and efficiency.

“Specific characteristics of AI give rise to important considerations for buyers, over and above those related to digital products in general. Therefore, the AI Lab has put together this short reference checklist to assist the decision-making of those responsible for procuring AI solutions in their organisations,” the guide said.

The checklist is informed by the code of conduct for data-driven health and care technology released by the Department of Health and Social Care in 2019.

The guide explains a series of questions that need to be addressed before AI should be purchased.

They include:

  • Can this product do what it claims it can?
  • Are the users of this product primed to use it?
  • What information sharing and data protection protocols would need to be in p lace to comply with your information governance policy?
  • Does this product meet regulatory standards?
  • Will your existing systems work effectively alongside the new technology to ensure a clear and reliable workflow?

The AI Lab was created in August last year following a £250m pledge from the government. It would be used to improve diagnostics and screening in the NHS, developing treatments for cancer, dementia and heart disease.

It’s also focused on upskilling the workforce to use artificial intelligence.

A more comprehensive buyers guide will be developed in the coming months. The guide can be accessed here.