John Nosta, the number one ranked global influencer in digital health and the future of health innovation, has said that humans and technology will work hand in hand but questioned who will take the lead in innovation.

Speaking at the Intelligent Health UK conference at ExCeL London, the founder and president of NostaLab claimed that “humans and machines will dance together” but posed the question “who leads?” to the audience.

Following his keynote speech, Nosta returned to the stage for a fireside chat with Dr Kate Devlin, reader in AI and society at King’s College London, and Jack Stilgoe, professor of science and technology policy at University College London.

Stilgoe was cautious about the future of healthcare with all the new technology coming our way that many clinicians may never have seen before. He warned that “there’s a danger that professionals in medicine will be shocked at what is to come in the future”.

Elsewhere, Dr Junaid Bajwa, chief medical scientist at Microsoft, offered a much more optimistic look at the future and how artificial intelligence (AI) and technology will play a positive part, stressing that “the future of healthcare will be more accurate, data-driven and precise”.

Microsoft have a strong relationship with the NHS, backed up by the recent news that NHS England has extended its Microsoft national licensing deal for £8 million for one month, with suggestions that negotiations for a new longer-term deal are underway but yet to be concluded.

All of this was preceded by a keynote speech from Daniel Bamford, deputy director for medtech and digital in the Innovation, Research and Life Sciences team at NHS England.

His session – ‘Leading digital change, interoperability and innovation’ – highlighted the initiatives that NHSE have to help scale innovation and drive change within the healthcare sector and confirmed himself that “we’re [NHS England] committed to making the UK the best place in the world for scaling innovation”.

Various initiatives and programmes Bamford presented to the audience included the Accelerated Access Collaborative (AAC), the Small Business Research Initiative, the AI in Health and Care Award, and the NHS Clinical Entrepreneur Programme.