Business Secretary Greg Clarke has announced a major push for Britain’s burgeoning AI sector with the opening of five new centres of excellence for digital pathology and imaging.
The new centres – based in Leeds, Oxford, Coventry, Glasgow and London – will together develop more intelligence analysis of medical imaging which, Clark says, will lead to better clinical decisions for patients as well as freeing up staff time at the NHS.
Bringing together doctors, businesses and academics, the centres will give rise to the development of products using digital technologies with the aim of improving the early diagnosis of disease.
The products developed at the new centres will offer more personalised treatment for patients while freeing up doctors to spend more time caring for patients.
The investment in large-scale genomics and image analysis will drive new understanding of how complex diseases develop, in a proactive step to ensure people get the right treatment at the right time.
Mr Clark said: “AI has the potential to revolutionise healthcare and improve lives for the better. That’s why our modern Industrial Strategy puts pioneering technologies at the heart of our plans to build a Britain fit for the future.
“The innovation at these new centres will help diagnose disease earlier to give people more options when it comes to their treatment, and make reporting more efficient, freeing up time for our much-admired NHS staff time to spend on direct patient care.”
The centres will be funded through the Industrial Strategy Challenge Fund, the government’s flagship investment programme that focusses on addressing the opportunities and challenges of the future, which is managed by UK Research and Innovation.
The centres will be spearheaded by some of the UK’s leading medical companies including GE Healthcare, Siemens, Philips, Leica, Canon and Roche Diagnostics.
Health Secretary Matt Hancock added: “Artificial intelligence will play a crucial role in the future of the NHS – and we need to embrace it by introducing systems which can speed up diagnoses, improve patient outcomes, make every pound go further and give clinicians more time with their patients.
“As part of our long-term plan, we will transform the NHS into an ecosystem of enterprise and innovation that allows technology to flourish and evolve.”
The centres, which will be based at universities and NHS facilities, are expected to be up and running during 2019.