Health Education England has published the first roadmap into the use of artificial intelligence (AI) across the NHS and the impact this could have on the workforce.

The roadmap forms part of a report which aims to understand the use of AI and data-driven technologies that are currently being used in the NHS, the uptake of these technologies and the impact they are having on the staff using them.

In particular, the report is trying to determine how long AI projects take to implement, the different uses of the technology and how they’re distributed through the health service, what clinical areas are using AI, and which parts of the workforce are using AI the most.

Dr Hatim Abdulhussein, clinical lead for the Digital, Artificial Intelligence and Robotics Technologies in Education (DART-Ed) programme at Health Education England, said: “The AI Roadmap is an invaluable asset in helping to understand the AI and data driven landscape in healthcare, and the implications this will have on our staff and learners.”

The roadmap was developed in cooperation with Unity Insights, with support from NICE, NHS AI Lab and the NHS Accelerated Access Collaborative (AAC). The aim is to provide valuable insights for leaders into AI policy, education, regulation, innovation, digital transformation and workforce strategy.

Findings from the report, which looks to expand on the Topol review and provide a framework on how to identify and classify AI technology, show that diagnostic technology – such as those used in imaging, pathology and endoscopy – were the most common use of AI in healthcare (34% share), followed by automation/service efficiency, P4 medicine, remote monitoring and therapeutic.

It also showed that of the 56 technologies estimated for a large-scale deployment within a year, 77% were for use in secondary care, 23% for use in primary care and 7% for use in community care.

A total of 155 workforce groups, across 67 clinical areas, were identified as using AI tech by Health Education England – with medics in clinical radiology and general practice most affected, as well as non-clinical admin staff.

Abdulhussein added: “It is important we achieve transformation through emerging technology, helping scalability to improve patient care throughout the country, and can understand impact on the system, pathways, and users. We need to ensure the workforce is ready to support this aim and the insights from this roadmap will focus our efforts on education and training to achieve this.”

There’s already a drive to incorporate more AI technologies into NHS healthcare. Earlier this month the UK government unveiled its 10-year national plan to tackle cancer which includes an increased use of AI and machine learning. In addition, a new approach to the ethical adoption of AI in healthcare is also being trialled within England.