A report commissioned by NHS Digital has found that AI-based products should be regulated like drugs. It is reported that this is likely under the remit of the Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency (MHRA).
The report, published by the Academy of Medical Royal Colleges, gave seven recommendations for politicians, policy makers and services providers to consider.
- Politicians and policymakers should avoid thinking that AI is going to solve all the problems
the health and care systems across the UK are facing. Artificial intelligence in everyday life is
still in its infancy. In health and care it has hardly started – despite the claims of some high profile
- As with traditional clinical activity, patient safety must remain paramount and AI must be
developed in a regulated way in partnership between clinicians and computer scientists.
However, regulation cannot be allowed to stifle innovation
- Clinicians can and must be part of the change that will accompany the development and use
of AI. This will require changes in behaviour and attitude including rethinking many aspects of
doctors’ education and careers. More doctors will be needed who are as well versed in data
science as they are in medicine
- For those who meet information handling and governance standards, data should be made
more easily available across the private and public sectors. It should be certified for accuracy
and quality. It is for Government to decide how widely that data is shared with non-domestic
- Joined up regulation is key to make sure that AI is introduced safely, as currently there is too
much uncertainty about accountability, responsibility and the wider legal implications of the
use of this technology
- External critical appraisal and transparency of tech companies is necessary for clinicians to
be confident that the tools they are providing are safe to use. In many respects, AI developers in
healthcare are no different from pharmaceutical companies who have a similar arms-length
relationship with care providers. This is a useful parallel and could serve as a template. As with
the pharmaceutical industry, licensing and post-market surveillance are critical and methods
should be developed to remove unsafe systems
- Artificial intelligence should be used to reduce, not increase, health inequality – geographically,
economically and socially.
MAP will continue to monitor these developments and publish further insights when information becomes available.