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More than one in two Britons willing to share personal data if it improves NHS, survey shows

NHS building

By Valeria Fiore
Reporter
5 September 2018

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Over half of Britons would share personal information with the NHS if it lead to improved patient care, a survey of 2,000 people has found.

A survey commissioned by finance company KPMG found that 56% of British citizens are willing to share their personal data with the NHS if this could help improve the service.

Conversely, only 15% would share their data with pharmaceutical companies, and the NHS also scored higher than banks (47%), the police (33%) and the Government (22%).

A positive impact

The report also found that 53% of respondents believe artificial intelligence (AI) will have a positive impact on the NHS.

Speaking ahead of the Health and Care Innovation Expo, vice chair at KPMG UK James Stewart 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.’

It comes as Prime Minister Theresa May made an official commitment in May to making the UK a world-leading country on AI, estimating that investing in AI will play a role in preventing 22,000 cancer deaths each year by 2033.

Better regulation on new technologies

The survey also showed that 59% of British citizens would welcome more Government regulation on new technologies such as AI.

Health minister Lord O’Shaughnessy today (5 September) announced at the Health and Care Innovation Expo a new code of conduct for AI and data-driven technologies that will help developers work on effective and safe products that offer value for money to NHS providers.

He said: ‘If the benefits of the applications of AI and NHS data are not seen as fairly distributed, we will lose the trust of the public.

‘That message was brought home today by KPMG through their report on AIwhich showed that the NHS is the institution that citizens most trust with their data. That is a very precious thing that we must maintain at all costs.’

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