responsibility

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It is 2019, many women will experience a ‘two-week wait’ for results from their screening. 1 in 7 UK females will be diagnosed with breast cancer in their lifetime and the risk of developing cancer depends on many factors including age and genetics. Fast forward to 2029 an NHS predictive model could flag someone as being at heightened risk of breast cancer. An algorithm takes seconds to compare their mammogram against millions of NHS scans and a doctor can share the results there and then. The next step is to develop a tailored intervention and monitoring plan to make sure your daughter never has to experience what you did, but also give the advice she needs in a format that makes sense to her and respects her autonomy. You see, in this future, even though you may not all be treated by a doctor, we will have cut through the hype of AI and worked out how we can deploy it to make sure it delivers the outcomes that the healthcare system, and all the people of the UK who trust and rely on it, want. We will have done this while ensuring that the values of the NHS are maintained, patients are treated with respect, and, above all, kept safe. Our future use of tech should be the safest in the world However, we know that we could go very wrong on this journey, especially if we do not tackle issues such as transparency, accountability, liability, explicability, fairness, justice and bias. As the NHS is for the people and we have a duty to improve their lives, we have a strong duty to create an ecosystem for the development of technologies that will deliver on this data-driven future. Our use of data-driven tech should be non-maleficent and beneficent. It should be capable of respect for people, respect for human rights, enable participation and be accountable for its decisions. It needs to keep society in the loop, not just the human in the loop. It should be: the safest in the world appropriately responsive to proven innovation ethical, legal, transparent and accountable evidence-based competitive and collaborative in alignment with the NHS Constitution. In other words, we need to create an ecosystem for the safe and ethical development, deployment and use of data-driven technology in which all the constituent parts of the system feel responsible for upholding the values of our NHS. That means the policymakers, regulators, commissioners, healthcare providers, tech vendors, researchers, carers, insurers and data controllers working together with distributed responsibility.

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