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Health a clear candidate for AI investment

Tuesday, 3 September 2019  
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eHealthNews.nz editor Rebecca McBeth

 

New Zealand’s health sector is a clear candidate for national AI investment to improve efficiencies and augment the clinical workforce, new research says.

 

The latest report from the AI Forum, Towards our intelligent future, calls for urgent action to progress the use of AI to address some of New Zealand’s most pressing challenges and not wait for a formal government-led national strategy.

 

“Our research pinpoints specific New Zealand opportunities where we can succeed – we have identified significant opportunities in health, conservation and road safety as clear candidates for national AI investment,” says AI Forum executive director Ben Reid.

 

The report says the quality and scope of big health data in New Zealand is considered very strong and includes linked data in the Statistics New Zealand Integrated Data Infrastructure.

 

Reid tells eHealthNews.nz that a more in-depth report, ‘AI in the New Zealand health sector’, will be published by the Forum in about a month and will focus on specific opportunities based on the quality of New Zealand’s health data.

 

“Given that there are so many challenges in terms of how the health sector is currently operating, there’s definitely opportunities to look to improve processes and efficiencies using some automation technologies,” he says.

 

“There are also huge opportunities for improving diagnosis, effectively augmenting the clinical workforce, enabling them to be more accurate in their analysis.

 

“We need to think of this as a new tool. It’s just another stethoscope that enables better diagnosis and more productivity.”

 

The new research shows New Zealand is performing reasonably well in the international AI discussion, but highlights an urgent need to invest more and secure a supply of homegrown talent.  

 

“Not having a strategy shouldn’t stop us moving forward. There are opportunities to go off with some flagship projects where we effectively learn by doing and we will pull through some of the necessary capabilities by doing that,” Reid says.

 

If you would like to provide feedback on this news story please contact the editor Rebecca McBeth.

 

Read more about AI in healthcare:

Read more from the AI Forum report in Views

Ben Reid: The state of AI in 2018

RANZCR launch world-leading principles for AI in healthcare

Medtech leading the way with AI technology


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