The UK will work with the G7 nations and other states “to look at internationally recognised standards for AI”, the secretary of state for health and social care has said.

Speaking at Chatham House on the future of global health Matt Hancock highlighted how technology has been applied during the Covid-19 pandemic.

This included artificial intelligence (AI) being used to make sure resources, including ventilators and oxygen, were in the right place at the right time and the creation of a database of scans from Covid patients across the country to help clinicians better understand the virus.

However, as the use of digital health tools increase, the health secretary added that it was key to ensure that ethical guidelines are in place.

“We must put in place the guide rails to enable this incredible innovation, and at the same time, make sure these technologies develop according to the values that reflect the best of humanity,” he said.

“We will work with other G7 member states and others to look at internationally recognised standards for AI, including the ethical underpinnings that are so important.”

The G7 nations include the UK, Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, USA and the EU. Leaders from Australia, India and South Korea were invited to attend the summit by Prime Minister Boris Johnson.

His speech on 26 January also delved into why having the technology isn’t necessarily enough.

“It’s not just enough to have the technologies,” Hancock added.

“We need to unlock the power of the data that fuels them.

“So it is critical to develop standards of interoperability of health data, especially clinical data. Moving away from the wide range of standards that we currently have across the globe towards a common approach, so data and technologies can be shared quickly and securely across boundaries, building on the work of the Global Digital Health Partnership.”

The Global Digital Health Partnership is a collaboration of governments and territories, government agencies and the World Health Organisation. The partnership was formed to support the implementation of digital health services across the globe.