Two doctors reviewing a CT scan

NHE365: The key questions in real-world AI delivery

Implementing AI solutions into our NHS services relies on a clear understanding of the problem, and then basing the solutions chosen directly around that problem, as was explained during National Health Executive’s inaugural #NHE365 virtual event.

Dr George Harston, Consultant Physician in Stroke and General Medicine at Oxford University Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust, took to the digital stage to present a real-world example of AI integration within stroke care in his NHS trust.

But there was also a desire to encourage the right type of AI innovation and delivery too.

To do so, he explained: “Lots of people develop an AI solution then try to shoehorn it into a problem. That’s the wrong way around.

“Instead, we must try to understand what the benefit is and who the user is. The biggest margins are to be gained by integrating [a solution] into your system, with data algorithms only one part of the system.

“The best algorithm in the world has no value if people don’t use it, or can’t use it.”

So, how do we decide on the best options or AI solutions going forward?

Well for Dr Harston, the analogy of choosing between two cars works best: between a people carrier and a high-end sports car.

If the task that we are trying to overcome, as Dr Harston described it, was dropping off five kids at school in the rain, then the people carrier is clearly the best choice. It meets the requirements needed well, it might not be flashy but is reliable and it’s within a reasonable cost.

The high-end sports car may be desirable to the ‘petrolhead’ - which in the analogy, Dr Harston uses to refer to the specialists and senior medical professionals.

For them, flashy innovations in either niche, specialist or statistical aspects might make all the difference, but for the NHS trust or organisation, they’re perhaps unneeded or don’t justify the more expensive cost.

Ultimately, for Dr Harston, “clinical significant trumps statistical significance”.

Not yet a part of #NHE365? There's still plenty time to register for what is our year-long virtual festival of events - with all of today's great conversations available  to watch on demand:

NHE365 Register


NHE Jan.Feb 21

NHE Jan/Feb 21

Creating a net zero NHS

NHE’s Jan/Feb 2021 edition focuses on the role of pharma working alongside the NHS, how we are working to digitise the health service and the ways in which the NHS can be involved in addressing the climate emergency.


View all videos
BMC Whitepaper


How well do the NHS understand digital potential?

Recently we have been gathering primary data direct from those within the NHS on modernising NHS technology and the challenges faced around resource, training and service management.

Download the full whitepaper and read the full findings in our exclusive report to learn more.

Finger on the Pulse

Ep 14. Health messaging is a science, Professor Craig Jackson

On Episode 14 of NHE's Finger on the Pulse podcast, we're joined by Professor Craig Jackson, Professor of Occupational Health Psychology
Birmingham City University to discuss the coronavirus pandemic, the health messaging around it and how those in power have missed a trick by overlooking the key role of psychology in informing the public of restrictions, measures and the ever-changing situation

More articles...

View all