Prime Minister's £250million AI funding boost could help transform care

8 August 2019        

Category: BHF Comment

Today the Government announced a £250million investment in artificial intelligence (AI) to help transform the detection and treatment of conditions, including heart and circulatory diseases.

AI heart
Health Secretary Matt Hancock announced on behalf of Prime Minister, Boris Johnson, that the funding will be used to create a National Artificial Intelligence Lab to accelerate progress in AI and health research.

The aim is that these life-saving technologies will help to free up beds and provide more personalised treatments as the NHS aspires to become a world leader in artificial intelligence.

Priorities for the Lab will be to help detect and treat heart and circulatory diseases, dementia and cancer, the Government said.

The investment aims to help the health service deliver the objectives set out in the NHS Long Term Plan, which includes ambitions to use AI to help eradicate the variation in patient care.

The digital medicine era

AI is the use of computer algorithms to draw conclusions from data without direct human input, while data science is the use of maths, statistics and computer science to get answers from large, complex data sets.

They are both vital in our mission to accelerate the rate of transformational progress in the prevention, detection and treatment of heart and circulatory conditions.

A welcome step

Our Chief Executive, Simon Gillespie, welcomed the £250million boost, and said:

“It is encouraging to see Government plans for a new NHS AI Lab, which could help to detect heart and circulatory diseases earlier and provide patients with more personalised care. 

“One in four deaths are from heart and circulatory diseases in the UK, which has a devastating impact on millions of families. As we enter the digital medicine era, we must harness the enormous potential of artificial intelligence for transforming the way we diagnose, treat and manage these conditions.

“As the revolutionary use of AI becomes more routine across the NHS, it is vital that patients are involved at the earliest stages of development to help build public trust and confidence in these innovative and potentially life-saving technologies.

“The BHF is at the cutting edge of this field, through initiatives like the BHF-Turing Cardiovascular Data Science Awards, which is already showing how AI can help to transform patient care. For example, there is promising evidence that machine learning could help predict a person’s risk of a heart attack or stroke, allowing them to receive preventative treatment earlier.

"We are also supporting the development of a new BHF centre for data science to continue our cutting-edge research into these heart-breaking conditions.”

Read more about how AI could help people with heart failure