The NHS is set to receive a £36m injection to bolster its AI capabilities across 38 new projects designed to make diagnoses faster.
While the NHS has been handling the Covid-19 pandemic, concerns over a diagnoses backlog have emerged, with people more hesitant to go to the GP or hospital for check-ups.
The new technology will help detect cancers and provide mental health support and form part of the NHS AI Lab’s £140m AI in Health and Care award money pot – which will be dished out over three years.
Chief executive of NHS England, Simon Stevens, said: “As the NHS comes through the pandemic, rather than a return to old ways, we’re supercharging a more innovative future.
“So today our message to developers worldwide is clear – the NHS is ready to help you test your innovations and ensure our patients are among the first in the world to benefit from new AI technologies.”
Some of the upcoming projects feature an AI-guided tool to help doctors and nurses to diagnose heart attacks more accurately, tech to help spot undiagnosed spinal fractures and an AI-powered mental health app.
Health secretary Matt Hancock said: “AI has the potential to completely revolutionise every part of how we approach healthcare, from how we diagnose diseases and the speed at which our doctors and nurses deliver treatments to how we support people’s mental health.”
After taking the brunt of a global crisis in the UK, the NHS has been in need of some fiscal TLC.
And with the tech sector swelling, Hancock added that the booming industry can help “support people to test from home, complete remote consultations and diagnose issues safely.”
366 applications for the innovation funding pool were initially received, but another round of applications for tech firms is set to open later this month.