Safeguards to ensure patient data is handled ethically are essential, writes Proximie’s Nadine Hachach-Haram, a speaker at next month’s Digital Health Data & AI event

The recent infusion of £21 million by the UK government to extend AI across NHS Trusts heralds a transformative chapter for the healthcare sector.

At Proximie, we’ve been at the forefront of this AI revolution, with our platform being used across 20% of NHS Trusts. Our platform serves as a vital tool for surgeons, augmenting their abilities and enhancing patient safety.

We are observing two primary avenues for AI adoption within the NHS. The first involves streamlining administrative processes, leading to higher productivity, consistent documentation, and faster transitions of patient care. This not only optimises healthcare team efficiency but also ensures better outcomes for patients, particularly those with complex conditions.

The second application of AI in healthcare decision-making is more gradual but equally transformative. We foresee AI playing a pivotal role in prevention, diagnosis, and treatment strategies. From identifying previously undetected cancers to aiding in the development of new medications, AI’s potential is vast. However, the majority of AI applications will focus on supporting clinicians and patients with targeted information to enhance decision-making quality.

Commit to ethical practices

The UK government’s vision of achieving full AI stroke-diagnosis coverage across the NHS by the close of 2023 places patient privacy at the forefront. Respecting patient data privacy is also a cornerstone of our mission. The apprehension surrounding third-party exploitation of patient data underscores the critical need for safeguarding patient privacy. We’ve meticulously designed safeguards to ensure patient data is handled responsibly, and individuals retain the freedom to provide or withhold consent.

With substantial investments totalling £123 million into 86 AI technologies across the NHS, the landscape of patient data privacy is set to evolve. By communicating clearly, obtaining informed consent, and implementing strong legal and technical measures, we can mitigate potential risks. Just as the vaccination campaign showcased the importance of accurate information, transparency, and individual choice, AI initiatives demand a similar commitment to ethical practices.

As the transformative force of AI permeates every facet of healthcare, one question remains paramount: How do we uphold patient data privacy while leveraging the full potential of AI? The solution lies in clarity and consent. By ensuring transparency in data usage and providing individuals the ability to grant or revoke consent, we pave the way for responsible AI integration.

Generative AI a game-changer
Generative AI emerges as a game-changer in the healthcare narrative. At Proximie, we envision a future where AI alleviates the burdens of information management, minimising errors, and optimising efficiency. Imagine a realm where AI comprehends and acts upon human language queries—this is the future we are striving to create.

AI must align with the needs of healthcare professionals and patients. At Proximie, we focus on simplicity, usability, and interoperability to foster acceptance and responsible data management. By harnessing the power of AI to enhance surgical procedures, we contribute to raising healthcare standards globally.

The partnership between health tech companies and tech giants like Google offers exciting possibilities. Preserving individual consent, respecting data boundaries, and ensuring patients remain the ultimate decision-makers are vital principles to uphold in this journey.

The dawn of AI in healthcare is upon us, promising unparalleled advancements. With unwavering dedication to patient privacy, responsible data management, and innovative AI integration, Proximie stands at the forefront of this transformative journey. As we embark on this chapter, I am filled with optimism. Together, we can propel healthcare into a future where technology serves humanity’s highest ideals.

Dr Nadine Hachach-HaramDr Nadine Hachach-Haram is the founder and CEO of Proximie. She will be a keynote speaker at AI & Data 2023, taking place in London 30-31 October