On Tuesday, Nesta held their #PeoplePoweredHealth event in partnership with Guys and St Thomas’ Charity. The event was focusing on how we can put digital and social innovation at the heart of the future health and care system. Sophie Walker, one of our Design Consultant, who works with the Uscreates Innovation Lab, Hatch, went to the afternoon breakout session which looked at Algorithmic medicine: potential and risks and how intelligent machines could impact healthcare, and what it would mean for patients and providers. For those of you that missed it, here’s a summary.
The speakers were:
Will Cavendish, Strategy Lead, DeepMind Applied
Paul Bate, Director of NHS Services, Babylon Health
Lydia Nicholas, Senior Researcher, Nesta
Using AI within healthcare will allow:
- Savings in finances and time: Using AI to replace or assist doctors will remove the time and money it takes to train up a doctor. Also, unlike human doctors, AI won’t need their training to be updated.
- More focus on prevention and early detection: AI will enable issues to be picked up earlier, often meaning a problem will be easier and cheaper to treat or manage. This will also give those patients more time to learn how to manage their care.
- Understanding the ‘normal’ me: Using data to understand what a person’s ‘normal’ health is like. For example, if they have a long-term health condition, what does a good and bad day look like for them? And how can you use that to promote positive behaviours or highlight negative patterns?
However, while all this technology makes its way into mainstream use, it will also create a degree of instability and distrust. To combat this we need to:
- Educate and co-create: Working with patients and communities to get them on board with this. And you’re more likely to get them to share their useful data, to benefit health and social care, once you’ve won their trust.
- Being transparent: It’s important to publish the results and have transparency about what’s being done. Bringing people with you on the journey is the key to convincing them and winning their trust.
- Understanding people’s barriers: Not all people collecting their data are the same. Someone who records their own data as a hobby has different views on data monitoring compared to a 13-year-old who’s been diagnosed with diabetes and needs to manage his health.
- User stories: Lydia (Nesta) pointed out the power of stories when getting the public on board with data sharing. For example, an over 50s group was happy to share genetic data because they understood the importance of doing so after reading Angelina Jolie’s mastectomy story. However, the same group found other concepts of data sharing hard to grasp and were unwilling to agree to them without a story to provide context. So telling compelling stories can really help to illustrate complex ideas.
- Be aware of existing inequalities: An AI is only as good as the data it collects. Future apps and technologies that will be implemented need to be aware of existing biases in the public perception – e.g. women rate pain lower than men do.
At Uscreates our new Research and Design Lab, Hatch, has been exploring the impact of AI on the future of health and social care services. We’ve been looking at how we can ensure digital products and services to remain people and patient centred. Last year before Christmas, we organised a roundtable on Humanising Technology with public and private sector organisations, and looked at the barriers and key points to keep in mind when designing better futures.
Sophie Walker is a researcher and communications designer who specialises in creating innovative and engaging ways to improve user services and experiences. Sophie has extensive experience as a researcher unpicking issues in a diverse range of subjects from improving the health and wellbeing of children under five to streamlining cloud computing services. She is skilled at engagement and has worked with groups such as adult and adolescent mental health service users, smoking pregnant women, and troubled families. She also has a background in trend forecasting and works with the Uscreates Innovation Lab, Hatch, helping clients to create long-lasting, sustainable services.