The Academy has held a number of events exploring the potential applications, and associated challenges of applying artificial intelligence approaches to research and healthcare.Status: Ongoing
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Artificial intelligence and health
The impact of artificial intelligence (AI) on biomedical research and the healthcare system is likely to be substantial and potentially transformational. Benefits could include: improved efficiency of research and development processes, new methods of healthcare delivery, more informed clinical decision-making and empowerment of patients in managing their health. AI has already begun to be used in each of these areas, and as technology develops to further analyse complex datasets, so too will its scale of use.
On 16 January 2019, the Academy in partnership with the Medical Research Council and National Institute for Health Research, held a roundtable chaired by Professor Jacqueline Hunter CBE FMedSci to explore the challenges and opportunities in AI-driven data analytics, in order to better define the research area and provide an overview of the scientific opportunities of the future.
The meeting considered the priority research areas within the field of AI-based data analytics, which can be translated into healthcare benefits in the short to medium term. Specifically it aimed to:
- Assess future research areas for AI-based data analytics that capture the value of biomedical and healthcare data for both novel and existing applications.
- Explore the function and wider implications of the current collaboration models, including public-private partnerships and NHS partnerships, for the development and application of AI-based data analytic tools in healthcare and the medical sciences.
- Discuss the development and retention of skills for AI-based data analytics.
- Consider aspects related to research quality, software/algorithm transparency and standards, including of publication, and whether there is scope for improvement.
A report of the meeting is available to download on the right had side of this page.
On 29 March 2019, the Royal Society in partnership with the Academy convened a workshop to explore where and how AI technologies can help address key clinical challenges. The workshop brought together healthcare workers and AI researchers to consider the role of AI in supporting healthcare delivery, and to identify resources that can help spur further research and development in key areas. The meeting focussed on three challenge areas, including the use of AI in:
- Clinical trials
- Healthcare delivery
- Primary care
A note of the meeting discussions is available to download on the right hand side of this page.
The Academy's FORUM workshops also regularly address issues surrounding data use and artificial intelligence by bringing together partners from across the NHS, academia and industry. Recent workshop topics around data and AI include cancer early detection and diagnosis and the digital maturity of health and social care systems, while the 2018 FORUM Annual Lecture was delivered by Dr Omar Ishrak, Medtronic CEO on the topic of 'Transforming healthcare through engineering and technology'.
In March 2023, FORUM ran a workshop in partnership with the Royal Academy of Engineering on 'accelerating safe and effective adoption of artificial intelligence in the healthcare system: learning by doing'.
Although not a FORUM workshop, the Academy also ran a working group on 'patient data and data-driven technologies in healthcare'.
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