Taking the pain out of AI


Due to the emergence of promising new AI technologies, a flood of data and increasing operational pressures, healthcare innovators face a new set of opportunities and challenges for moving from theory to practice and beyond. These will define the next decade of operational efficiency in healthcare delivery.

Jointly organised by the IET, Edge Health and Women in AI, ‘Taking the pain out of AI’ took place at IET London: Savoy Place on 9 May 2019. The event explored successful healthcare innovations in the field of AI and how the companies behind them have navigated some of these challenges.

As with the previous events in the series, attendees were given the opportunity to hear from a diverse panel of industry experts and take part in discussions around some of the latest developments in the health tech sector.

The Speakers

The first speaker was Dr Finn Catling, Anaesthetic Doctor and Machine Learning Researcher at University College Hospital, London. Catling spoke about how machine learning can be used in intensive care to make decisions for clinicians in a similar way to humans, which could then be scaled up and used to support decisions elsewhere. He also explained why it’s important to focus on solving the problems being faced by patients and staff rather than adopting a technology-first approach.

Eleonora Harwich, Director of Research and Head of Digital and Tech Innovation at think tank Reform then delivered a presentation on harnessing the value of healthcare data. Harwich offered an insight into how data is processed and utilised – from the various methods of collection to the improved patient outcomes that can result – and how information is currently shared between different healthcare providers, authorities and bodies.

Putting innovation into practice was the focus of the next presentation from Jim Ritchie, Program Director, Digital Control Centre, Salford Royal NHS Foundation Trust. Ritchie spoke about the importance of driving workforce change and the need for system thinking, as well as how Salford Royal has gone about formulating an innovation methodology which can be used to understand a problem, assess the solution and then build a business case.

The final talk came from Catherine Davies, Managing Partner at Monticle. Davies began with an overview of the huge growth that’s being seen in health technology, before moving onto some of the main factors that are stifling innovation in the sector such as the lack of scalability due to localised decision making and budget control. She then shared the idea of giving more support to health tech companies so they can better understand how the NHS works and urging the NHS to ‘endorse’ companies that have supplied one of its bodies to encourage more widespread adoption across the whole service.

Panel and Q&A

The presentations were followed by a panel session and Q&A with the audience. Questions were based around a range of topics, from patient data ownership/privacy and how to reduce the complexity of healthcare data to the challenges of getting new technology into the NHS to how AI healthcare tech might develop over the next 5-10 years.

‘Taking the pain out of AI’ was the fifth event in the Think BIG Series. For more information on the previous events, visit the Think BIG web page.

Taking the pain out of AI: Moving from theory to practice