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Public ready to prescribe more artificial intelligence to NHS

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A survey of 2,000 Britons commissioned by KPMG shows the NHS could play a key role in securing the UK’s ambition to remain a world leader in artificial intelligence (AI).  In the survey, 51% of those polled said they were worried about data privacy, and a majority of people said they wouldn’t share their personal data with the UK’s biggest organisations for AI purposes.  However, there was one exception: 56% said they would be happy to share their personal data with the NHS if it led to improved service.

This was in stark contrast with those willing to share their personal data with organisations such as pharmaceutical companies (15%), charities (11%), media companies (8%), internet companies (8%) and political organisations (7%).  In terms of willingness to share personal data for AI, the NHS scored ahead of organisations such as banks (47%), the police (33%), and the government (22%).

Speaking ahead of the Health and Care Innovation Expo on Wednesday, James Stewart, Vice Chair at KPMG UK said: “The NHS is the one area of many people’s lives where their scepticism of artificial intelligence and data security is overcome.  This could make the data held by the NHS a national asset capable of catapulting the UK’s AI development potential forward.  The public are receptive to more artificial intelligence in the NHS and this could lead to breakthroughs in patient care and how AI is regarded by UK business more generally.”

A KPMG UK report entitled “How the UK can win the AI race” newly published with a foreword by Greg Clark MP makes five recommendations:

1)      A national debate on the realities of AI.

2)      Formalising the UK’s data regulation systems for AI.

3)      Establishing a ‘British Standard of Trust’ – a kite-mark for AI and data security.

4)      Establishing ‘Data Innovation Zones’ where developers are given access to anonymised health data.

5)      Addressing the AI skills gap by digital upskilling in schools, a culture of life-long learning and greater recognition for subjects beyond STEM.




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