8th September, 2020

NHS patients will be among the first in the world to benefit from new artificial intelligence (AI) technologies thanks to a £50m boost. The NHS has been at the forefront of the AI revolution with the creation of the NHS AI Lab, with these tools and products part of the £140m AI in Health and Care Award programme, each receiving a share of over £50m. The award is managed by the Accelerated Access Collaborative in partnership with NHSX and the National Institute for Health Research. Over 530 applications were received and a total of 42 awards were made across the four phases. Among the 42 successful winners were 7 DigitalHealth.London Accelerator SMEs: Macusoft Ltd, Xim Limited (Lifelight), Dem Dx Limited, Ibex Medical Analytics, Oxford Heartbeat Ltd, Healthy.io (UK) Ltd and DrDoctor.

Jenny Thomas, Programme Director, DigitalHealth.London Accelerator, said: “It’s fantastic to see this commitment to AI and the potential it has to improve health and care for patients and NHS staff. We’re very proud that many of the innovations successful in winning the AI in Health and Care Award are DigitalHealth.London Accelerator SMEs.”

The package includes funding to support the research, development and testing of promising ideas which could be used in the NHS in future to help speed up diagnosis or improve care for a range of conditions including sepsis, cancer and Parkinson’s.

Sir Simon Stevens, NHS Chief Executive, said: “The NHS has and always will rely first and foremost on the clinical expertise of our staff, but the innovations we’re funding today have the potential to save lives by improving screening, cancer treatment and stroke care for NHS patients across the country.”

“We’re still in the early stages of AI, but when the latest chapter in the history of medicine comes to be written, AI in health care will doubtless rank alongside earlier advances such as the stethoscope, the X ray and the blood test.”

Health Secretary Matt Hancock said: “The NHS has always spearheaded world-leading technologies that can transform and save lives, so it is vital we continue to harness the full potential of modern digital advances to help patients living with life-limiting illness and support our hardworking NHS staff.

“During the pandemic we have all seen the positive impact new technology can have – from our next generation rapid testing, to our machine-learning tools helping the NHS predict where beds and oxygen are needed – and I’m determined we continue down this path.

“Today’s funding will ensure the NHS can continue to fast-track pioneering artificial intelligence to the frontline, freeing up clinicians’ time and saving lives.”

Today’s announcement supports a range of technologies at different stages of development, from initial concepts to real-world tests.

AI products will be trialled in several NHS organisations before potentially being adopted across the health service.

Each product will undergo robust testing and independent evaluation to ensure they are effective, accurate, safe and value for money.

The AI in Health and Care Award forms part of the NHS AI Lab and is managed by the Accelerated Access Collaborative in partnership with NHSX and the National Institute for Health Research.

Matthew Gould, Chief Executive of NHSX, said: “Throughout the pandemic, the NHS has shown how digital technology can transform the service it provides, quickly and safely, but we have a long way to go.

“The NHS AI Lab was set up to drive the adoption of data-driven technologies, with the goal of enhancing the care our staff can give their patients, and these awards should give that effort a serious boost.”

Lord Darzi, Chair of the Accelerated Access Collaborative, said: “The AAC and the AI in Health and Care Award are helping to cement the UK’s international reputation as the perfect location to trial and test new technologies.

“Today we have backed a range of innovators from academia, industry and the NHS to develop and deliver AI tools and products that can transform our health system and ensure we continue to be a world leader in medical science and research.”

For more information visit: nhsx.nhs.uk/news/nhs-ai-lab-speed-cancer-and-heart-care/

The winners of the competition for the first award were announced on 8th September 2020. Over 530 applications were received and a total of 42 awards were made across the four phases: nhsx.nhs.uk/ai-lab/ai-lab-programmes/ai-health-and-care-award/ai-health-and-care-award-winners/