Can artificial intelligence save the National Health Service?

Following Jeremy Corbyn and Theresa May’s heated debate over the state of the NHS during yesterday’s PMQs, some experts believe that the use of artificial intelligence could hold the key to saving the UK’s NHS.

Cognitive agents

AI, in particular cognitive agents that can hold a human-like conversation with the patients, is the key to rescuing the NHS and giving patients and taxpayers the level of care that they expect.

Indeed, David Champeaux, director, Global Cognitive Health Solutions at IPsoft, the digital labour company suggests that AI may be the “miracle pill” for the NHS.

>See also: British public ‘would use AI’ to relieve NHS pressures

“The NHS is at risk of a winter of discontent,” said Champeaux. “Our healthcare system is buckling under immense pressure resulting from growing demand and capacity constraints. One way to address the staff shortages is to train digital employees equipped with artificial intelligence (AI) to assist doctors and nurses and relieve them from the high volume of routine and administrative tasks and free up more time for patients.”

“AI-enabled virtual agents will simultaneously address access and quality challenges in the system and open the door for a more efficient and effective service to citizens. This winter we have seen almost 55,000 operations cancelled and an increased pressure on ambulances and A&E departments. AI can relieve pressure on frontline staff in hospitals and primary care practices by handling routine enquiries through virtual agents.”

>See also: Digital diagnosis: AI’s crucial future role in the NHS

AI, Champeaux goes on to suggest, may provide the long-term cure for the resource crisis facing the NHS, as reportedly there is a shortage of at least 50,000 doctors and nurses.

“Cognitive agents can hold a human-like conversation with the patients, providing the most up-to-date, personalised and timely guidance, based on the insights available to patients and the care team. When these agents join the care team, this relieves the healthcare workforce from repetitive, administrative tasks that can be automated, which allows doctors and nurses more time to care for those in need.

“The good news for British stakeholders is that AI-enabled agents are set to speed up convenient, reliable access to routine support and information across public sector services and do so affordably and at scale.

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