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Advice service for AI adopters in the NHS is launched

by Emily Roberts
21 June 2023

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A new online advice service to support the uptake and development of artificial intelligence (AI) and digital technologies in primary care as well as across the NHS and social care has been launched.

The AI and Digital Regulations Service is a collaboration between the National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE), the CQC, the Health Research Authority and the Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency (MHRA).

The website provides up-to-date information about regulations, guidance and advice for those in the NHS that want to use AI and digital technologies to deliver benefits to patient care.  ‘Adopters’ will also be able to access specialist support from service partners.

The goal of the service is to help ‘increase the uptake of safe and value-adding AI across health and social care,’ with information from multi organisations collated in one place.

Those using the site, which is funded by NHS AI Lab, will be able to follow guidance at each stage of the ‘adoption pathway’. For example, it can help primary care organisations and others ‘be sure a digital technology is the right solution’ to their problem by setting out five steps to follow. The site features a data compliance checklist too, so organisations are aware of their legal requirements.

The service can also respond to individual enquiries from adopters and advise on where to go with specific queries.

Mark Chapman, interim director of medical technology at NICE, said this service would help developers and the NHS come together.

‘It provides useful and useable guidance on how to identify, pilot and rollout such technologies,’ he said.

Dr Laura Squire, MHRA chief quality and access officer, described it as an ‘innovative advice service’ that would give clinicians ‘confidence when using these cutting-edge technologies to provide care for patients across the UK’.

Last year, a report from Health Education England (HEE) and NHS AI Lab said AI could help the NHS to detect and manage conditions such as cancer and cardiovascular disease earlier. 

It also said that NHS staff needed ‘bespoke and specialised’ training and support to safely use AI in their clinical practice.