People and processesDigital SkillsReview to look into NHS staff AI and robotics training needs

Review to look into NHS staff AI and robotics training needs

Plans are part of an independent review into the training needs of NHS staff to ensure they are equipped to give patients the latest treatments

Jeremy Hunt, Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, has announced a review into how tens of thousands of NHS staff can be trained to use artificial intelligence and robotics.

The review will be led by Dr Eric Topol, an expert in cardiology, genetics and digital medicine. Dr Topol will look at opportunities where the NHS could invest in training for existing staff. He will also consider the implications on the skills required of future healthcare professionals.

Dr Topol will look at technologies such as artificial intelligence (including robotics), genomics and digital medicine. He previously led a US research programme on using technology and data for more precise, tailored patient treatment.

He will begin with a visit to Moorfields Eye Hospital to see its life-changing technology in action. Moorfields Eye Hospital is looking at how machine-learning technology could help analyse eye scans, giving eye care professionals a better and faster understanding of eye disease.

Health and Social Care Secretary, Jeremy Hunt, said: “Every week we hear about exciting new developments surfacing in the NHS which could help provide answers to some of our greatest challenges such as cancer or chronic illness. These give us a glimpse of what the future of the whole NHS could be, which is why in the year of the NHS’ 70th birthday I want to empower staff to offer patients modern healthcare more widely and more quickly. I’m delighted that Dr Topol is kicking off this review – ensuring the NHS is at the forefront of life-saving, life-changing care across the globe for decades to come.”

Dr Topol said: “While it’s hard to predict the future, we know artificial intelligence, digital medicine and genomics will have an enormous impact for improving the efficiency and precision in healthcare. Our review will focus on the extraordinary opportunities to leverage these technologies for the healthcare workforce and power a sustainable and vibrant NHS.”

Last year, a University of Glasgow study said that training in new technology is a key facilitator to implementing a digital health programme.

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