Around 40% of NHS staff and the general public are ready to embrace a greater role for automation and AI in healthcare but doubts remain with many others, according to a Health Foundation survey.
When asked to choose which option came closest to their view, 45% of NHS staff felt that the main impact of automation and AI on health care workers will be to improve their quality of work by supporting them and enhancing their capabilities whilst 36% felt it would be to threaten jobs and professional status as these technologies replace humans in an increasing number of areas of health care.
The main perceived risk of automation and AI for the public and NHS staff was health care becoming more ‘impersonal’ with less human contact.
The Health Foundation is calling on policymakers and NHS leaders to invest in infrastructure and skills to enable NHS staff to use automation technologies and AI safely and effectively in the future, and to engage with the public and NHS workforce to build confidence in technology-enabled care.
The NHS App has reached over six million users, according to the Department of Health and Social Care.
Simon Bolton, Interim Chief Executive at NHS Digital, said: “We’re delighted that the NHS App has proved so popular over the past month, and is helping people to quickly and easily provide proof of their vaccination status. We’re also seeing a big increase in the use of other features in the app, from registering organ donation preferences to booking appointments and ordering repeat prescriptions.
The COVID-19 vaccine status service in the NHS App and NHS website has been built with user privacy and security at its heart, to ensure personal information is safe and secure at all times.
Matt Hancock, Health and Social Care secretary said: “Technology undoubtedly plays a huge role in how we deliver healthcare now and in the future and it is great to see so many people downloading, using and benefitting from the NHS App.
“It is vital we embrace the momentum we have built in using technology and innovation in the health and care sector over the last year as we look beyond the pandemic to improve treatment, care and the experiences of patients.”
Britain’s vaccine success has inspired a new science and technology drive. Prime Minister Boris Johnson has announced plans for a National Science and Technology Council which he will chair, to drive forward the Government’s science and technology capabilities.
Unveiling the plans, the Prime Minister said: “From discovery to delivery, our vaccination programme has proven what the UK can achieve at scale and at speed.
“With the right direction, pace and backing, we can breathe life into many more scientific and technological breakthrough that transform the lives of people across the UK and the world.”
Chief Scientific Adviser Sir Patrick Vallance has asked to lead a new Office for Science and Technology which will be based in the Cabinet Office and take up the role of the new National Technology Adviser.
The Office will drive forward the Government’s strategy to put “science and technology at the entre of policy and public services”.
The PM has tasked government with taking the success of the vaccine programme and applying it to other priorities, such as net zero and curing cancer.