An NHSX report claims that a rapid increase in AI data-driven technologies in healthcare, fuelled by the COVID-19 pandemic, is outpacing the creation of supporting policy frameworks and regulation.

In response, the white paper, produced with GDHP, AI for healthcare: Creating an international approach together aims to provide much needed policy guidance to the international health community. Building on rapid literature and policy reviews, interviews with GDHP member countries, and a focus group with experts in digital health, the white paper includes a set of policy recommendations on how best to support and facilitate the use of AI-driven technologies within health systems. The policy recommendations are presented at a high level, so to be applicable regardless of a country’s digital health maturity level.

The white paper outlines four strategic categories and associated policy recommendations to support policymakers to implement AI-driven technologies into their health system:

  • Leadership and oversight are necessary to ensure that countries take a ‘needs-based’ approach to AI-driven technology use within their health system and to ensure this use creates maximal benefit when it comes to health outcomes.
  • Policies should focus on the entire ecosystem of AI research, development and implementation rather than just one aspect of the AI life cycle.
  • National standards and regulatory processes should ensure interoperability, safety, transparency and efficacy of AI-driven technologies in health settings.
  • Engagement with stakeholders such as patients, healthcare practitioners, and industry should be proactively pursued through highlighting the demonstrable benefits of specific uses of AI-driven technologies in health systems.

It’s hoped that the international health community can use the policy recommendations as a base as they create national and regional approaches to developing and using AI-driven technologies in their health system.

“We are grateful to all those from NHS AI Lab and others who participated in the work to produce this report,” said Tim Donohoe, Director of Delivery, Assurance and Operations (NHSX) and Chair, Policy Environments Work Stream. “It is clear that this is an area of keen interest for GDHP members and we hope the report and experiences of NHSX team will help individual member countries in making use of AI to improve the care they give their patients.”

The full white paper can be read here