New code of conduct for AI use in NHS released

The government has outlined details of its new code of conduct aimed at ensuring the NHS uses only the best and safest AI systems

A new code of conduct for the use of AI in the NHS has been released, and aims to ensure that only the best and safest systems are used by the NHS.

The code encourages technology companies to meet a specific set of principles to protect patient data to the highest standards. It has been drawn up with the help of industry, academics and patient groups.

The aim is to make it easier for suppliers to develop technologies that tackle some of the biggest issues in healthcare. It will also help health and care providers choose safe, effective and secure technology to improve the services they provide.

The code will:

  • Promote the UK as the best place in the world to invest in healthtech

  • Provide evidence of what good practice looks like to industry and commissioners

  • Reassure patients and clinicians that data-driven technology is safe, effective and maintains privacy

  • Allow the government to work with suppliers to guide the development of new technology so products are suitable to the NHS in the future

  • Make sure the NHS get a fair deal from the commercialisation of its data resources

The code is made up of 10 principles that set out how the government will make it easier for companies to work with the NHS to develop new technologies and what the NHS expects in return, and it will be updated regularly.

Health secretary, Matt Hancock, said:

“Artificial intelligence has the potential to save lives, but also brings challenges that must be addressed.

“We need to create an ecosystem of innovation to allow this type of technology to flourish in the NHS and support our incredible workforce to save lives, by equipping clinicians with the tools to provide personalised treatments.

“AI must be used responsibly and our code of conduct sets a gold-standard set of rules to ensure patient data is always protected and the systems we use are some of the safest in the world.”

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