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Virtual AI event showcases northern MedTech cluster

AI
9th February 2021 about a 3 minute read
“We should be using data to run things better and we’re not doing that in healthcare.." Neil Sebire, Chief Research Information Officer for Great Ormand Street Hospital

More than 275 people in 20-plus countries from across health, academia and industry attended the first Virtual Northern MedTech Summit entitled Rethinking MedTech Collaborations.

The event was hosted by the National Institute for Health Research Surgical MedTech Co-operative, Northern Health Science Alliance (NHSA) and the University of Leeds, supported by Empact Ventures.

It featured nine roundtable sessions focusing on current challenges and opportunities in AI, surgical innovations, levelling up in MedTech, maximising MedTech adoption and the benefits of collaboration.

Keynote speaker was Professor Sir John Tooke, a clinician scientist and NHSA board member, who said: “The COVID pandemic has presented the health and life sciences sector with many challenges, but also opportunities to develop and implement innovation at speed and scale. 

Sharing ideas

“Sharing ideas and learning with professionals across the healthcare space is crucial as the country recovers from the pandemic, and the MedTech sector will play an important role within this.”

Vee Mapunde, Programme Director of the National Institute for Health Research Surgical MedTech Co-operative, said the event was aimed at showcasing the North and stimulating discussion on driving MedTech collaborations for the benefit of patients. 

Dr Ben Martyn, Cluster Development Manager at the Northern Health Science Alliance, added: “At a time when the NHS continues to face unprecedented challenges and we look ahead to recovery post-COVID, collaboration and partnership working has never been more important. 

Underestimating impact of AI

The roundtable discussions included a session on the application of AI in medtech which heard that medical professionals are “enormously underestimating” the impact of AI and machine learning on the sector. 

Neil Sebire, Chief Research Information Officer for Great Ormand Street Hospital for Children NHS Foundation Trust, said all the emphasis was on the use of AI to help clinicians make better decisions. 

He said it was “unbelievable” that the health service was not making more use of AI for operational decision support. “We should be using data to run things better and we’re not doing that in healthcare – partly because we are not collecting the data.”

AI held to higher standards

He added that often AI was held to more exacting standards than humans were. “So if I said ‘we have this AI tool and 20% of the time it makes the wrong diagnosis’ patients would reply: ‘that’s no good.’

“But if I tell them ‘but the doctor gets it wrong 30% of the time they say ‘that’s OK.’ It’s a strange discord.”

Peter Wheatstone, Patient Representative on the NIHR Surgical MedTech Co-operative,  said that the key was transparency and giving the patient the information they need to make the decision that’s best for them. 

“Also for most people emotion is a stronger driver than logic so we have to recognise the power of emotions”.  

Sherin Mathew, CEO and Founder of AI Tech North, added: “Doctors get it wrong sometimes, so do machines. But together they are powerful”.

Videos of the presentations and roundtable sessions from the summit can be found at www.superconnectseries.com/virtual-medtech-summit/