Some thoughts from the experts
We're immensely proud of our partnerships with NHS hospitals, and the early impact our work is having. We've been encouraged along the way by many prominent patients, clinicians and NHS leaders who are excited about the potential for AI and mobile tools to make a difference.
Responses to our work on mobile apps with the Royal Free & Imperial
Professor Keith McNeil, NHS Chief Clinical Information Officer:
"The health and care system stands poised to harness the power of information and technology to substantially improve the care we provide to patients and to promote world class health outcomes.
We cannot do this alone and we need to work with world leading partners, and I am delighted that the Royal Free are going to be able to use the brilliant technology and innovation offered by a partner of the stature of DeepMind to help deliver better, safer care to their patients.
I commend them for their initiative and wish them every success with the venture."
Sir David Sloman, Chief Executive, Royal Free London NHS Foundation Trust
“Our five-year partnership with technology company DeepMind is about one thing: saving lives...Every day that we fail to embrace new technology in the NHS is a day when patients’ lives are being unnecessarily put at risk. Our collaboration with DeepMind began more than a year ago, at our instigation, as part of our work to improve patient safety.”
David Myers, President of the Royal Free Kidney Patients Association:
“As a kidney patient for more than 25 years I am really excited about the potential of the Streams AKI app. This seems to me something that will revolutionise the speed with which AKI patients will be cared for. I think this system could not only save lives but could improve patients chances of living longer whilst reducing their stay in hospital.
This must not only benefit patients by ensuring that they receive the correct care immediately but also should reduce the cost of caring for patients if AKI incidents are recognised at an early stage. I am happy that patient data is safe.”
Professor Jane Dacre, President of the Royal College of Physicians:
“The Royal Free London NHS Trust and DeepMind’s new partnership […] offers exciting possibilities for improved care for patients and more efficient systems for physicians to work with. It is encouraging to see the NHS harnessing technology to make a difference at the bedside and the clear focus on delivering real differences to patients’ lives and health.
Whenever we develop new ways of using patient data, it is essential that safeguards are in place for appropriateness and confidentiality, but with these we should embrace the opportunity to improve healthcare quality and reduce the burdens of bureaucracy on clinicians so they can focus on their patients."
Sanjay Gautama, Caldicott Guardian and Chief Clinical Information Officer at Imperial College Healthcare NHS Trust:
“Apps have changed the way we live our lives, from banking to shopping, and they are clearly part of the future healthcare landscape. They bring immense opportunities for faster and more efficient care, by making access to vital information quicker and easier for clinicians. But for apps to be useful and safe they cannot operate in isolation – they need to be securely linked to the core electronic patient record system.
By working with DeepMind we are embracing the opportunities that technology brings to improve patient care, using their expertise to help us deploy a system that allows us to maximise future innovations in mobile technology for healthcare for the benefit of our patients.”
Responses to our research collaborations with Moorfields & UCLH:
Professor Sir Peng Tee Khaw, Director of the National Institute for Health Research Specialist Biomedical Research Centre in Ophthalmology at Moorfields Eye Hospital NHS Foundation Trust and UCL Institute of Ophthalmology:
"Our research with DeepMind has the potential to revolutionise the way professionals carry out eye tests and could lead to earlier detection and treatment of common eye diseases such as age-related macular degeneration. With sight loss predicted to double by the year 2050 it is vital we explore the use of cutting-edge technology to prevent eye disease."
John Mazoni, Chief Executive of the Civil Service:
"Healthcare is another exciting area. Moorfields Eye Hospital and DeepMind Health are partners in a research project that could lead to earlier detection of eye diseases. At the moment, clinicians rely on complex digital eye scans. 3,000 of these scans are made every week at Moorfields. But traditional tools can’t explore them fully, and analysis takes time.
Moorfields will share a data set of one million anonymised scans with DeepMind, who will analyse them using machine-learning technology. This can detect and learn patterns from data in seconds, to quickly diagnose whether a condition is urgent. With sight loss predicted to double by 2050, the use of cutting-edge technology is absolutely vital.
The right treatment at the right time can prevent many cases of blindness or partial sightedness. Up to 98% of sight loss resulting from diabetes, for example, can be prevented by early detection and treatment."
Cathy Yelf, Chief Executive of the Macular Society:
"This is an exciting development towards early detection of eye disease and finding a cure for conditions including age-related macular degeneration (AMD). AMD is a devastating condition and delays due to pressure on eye clinics have resulted in some people suffering unnecessary sight loss. This technology could ease that pressure if it can accurately diagnose conditions such as wet AMD resulting in urgent referrals for only those that need them."
Dr Dolores Conroy, Director of Research at Fight for Sight, the UK’s main eye research charity:
"We are really excited about this collaboration and the potential of machine learning to analyse the thousands of retinal scans taken each week in the NHS allowing eye health professionals to make faster, more accurate diagnoses and more timely treatments thus preventing sight loss. In the longer term this technology could provide important insights into disease mechanisms in wet AMD and diabetic retinopathy."
Clara Eaglen, RNIB Eye Health Campaigns Manager:
"AI technology that can check retinal scans and detect eye disease at a much earlier stage could play a big role in tackling avoidable sight loss. In many cases, once sight is lost it cannot be restored, so earlier detection that leads to rapid treatment will be hugely beneficial. We look forward to seeing the results of the work as the research progresses."
Dr Yen-Ching Chang, clinical lead for radiotherapy at UCLH:
"This is very exciting research which could revolutionise the way in which we plan radiotherapy treatment.
Developing machine learning which can automatically differentiate between cancerous and healthy tissue on radiotherapy scans will assist clinicians in planning radiotherapy treatment. This has the potential to free up clinicians to spend even more time on patient care, education and research, all of which would be to the benefit of our patients and the populations we serve.
This collaboration also means our patients continue to benefit from the most cutting-edge developments in healthcare technology.”
Professor Kathy Pritchard-Jones, chief medical officer of London Cancer:
"Head and neck cancer is rare and is one of the most complex tumour sites to treat. Therefore, if we can develop technology to assist in planning radiotherapy treatment for these tumours, we would expect that such a breakthrough would be transferrable to other types of cancer. This would not only benefit UCLH patients, but patients across the country.”
Dr. Anna Thompson, Consultant Oncologist at UCLH:
“The NHS is always looking at ways of improving patient pathways and experience. As an UCLH Oncology Consultant who plans radiotherapy for the treatment of patients with cancer, I am very excited to work with DeepMind exploring new technologies that could speed up the radiotherapy planning process. This could free up doctors and radiographers to spend more time with patients and further develop the service.”