A code of conduct for artificial intelligence (AI) and data-driven technologies will set guidelines for patients’ data protection and secure the NHS future deals with technology companies, the Government has said.
Health minister Lord O’Shaughnessy launched an initial consultation on the code at the NHS Health and Care Innovation Expo conference today (5 September).
The NHS, social care providers and other industry experts are now being asked to offer their feedback on the code, which will later inform an updated version to be published in December.
The code is in line with Prime Minister Theresa May’s commitment for the UK to lead on the AI revolution, as she said in May that adopting AI in the NHS could help diagnose ‘at least 50,000 people each year at an early stage of prostate, ovarian, lung or bowel cancer’.
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AI is already being used in the NHS in a number of ways, such as to detect heart disease and lung cancer at earlier stages.
The aim of the code is to make is easier for suppliers to develop technologies that will address some of the biggest issues in healthcare. It also aims to help providers choose the safest and most effective technologies to improve their services in the quickest way possible.
Lord O’Shaughnessy said: ‘We have today launched our initial technology partnerships code of conduct – 10 principles which set out the rules of engagement between industry and the health and care system.
‘These principles provide a basis to deepen the trust between patients, clinicians, researchers and innovators.’
It comes as a report by finance company KPMG also published today that showed the NHS is the institution citizens most trust with their data. Lord O’Shaughnessy said this ‘is a very precious thing that we must maintain at all costs’.
The 10 principles of the code of conduct
- Define the user: specify who your product is for;
- Define the value proposition: what are the benefits and desired outcomes of your innovation?
- Be fair, transparent and accountable about what data you are using: ensure all aspects of the general data protection regulations (GDPR) have been considered
- Use data that is proportionate to the identified user need: demonstrate use of the minimum personal data necessary to achieve the desired outcomes
- Make use of open standards: Make sure your technology can communicate with existing national systems and has data quality evaluation to avoid harm if poor data quality creeps in
- Be transparent to the limitations of the data used and algorithms deployed
- Make security integral to the design: include adequate levels of security and safeguarding data
- Define the commercial strategy. Purchasing strategies should show consideration of commercial and technology aspects and contractual limitations. You should only enter into commercial terms in which the benefits of the partnerships between technology companies and health and care providers are shared fairly.
- Show evidence of effectiveness for the intended use: how effective is your technology for its intended use?
- Show what type of algorithm you are building, how you plan to validate and monitor its performance.