Secondary Care

NHS AI Lab and HEE report on understanding healthcare workers’ confidence in AI

Health Education England and the NHS AI Lab at the NHS Transformation Directorate have released a new report that focuses on understanding healthcare workers’ confidence in artificial intelligence, and how it can inform training in this area.

The report, titled ‘Understanding healthcare workers’ confidence in AI’, provides a framework for understanding what influences confidence in AI within health and care settings, and focuses on governance including; regulation and standards, evaluation and validation, guidelines, and liability.

Split into two parts, the first report provides detail into a conceptual framework for understanding the influence of confidence; and the second report, to be published later this year, will outline the education and training that is needed based on the findings and conceptual framework, and present pathways to develop related education and training.

One of the reasons behind the report, Health Education England notes, is that “the vast majority of clinicians are unfamiliar with AI technologies and there is a risk that without appropriate training and support, patients will not equally share in the benefits offered by AI. The report calls for clinicians to be supported through training and education to manage potential conflicts between their own intuition or views about a patient’s condition and the information or recommendations provided by an AI system.”

The report covers influencing factors in areas such as attitudes, the AI model design and cognitive biases, as well as aiming to understand appropriate levels of confidence for governance and implementation. It also notes the introduction and implementation of AI technology will depend on factors such as developing strong related business cases, maintaining effective relationships with industry innovators, and establishing organisational cultures conducive to innovation, collaboration, and public engagement.

Brhmie Balaram, Head of AI Research and Ethics at the NHS AI Lab, said: “AI has the potential to relieve pressures on the NHS and its workforce; yet, we must also be mindful that AI could exacerbate cognitive biases when clinicians are making decisions about diagnosis or treatment. It is imperative that the health and care workforce are adequately supported to safely and effectively use these technologies through training and education.

“However, the onus isn’t only on clinicians to upskill; it’s important that the NHS can reassure the workforce that these systems can be trusted by ensuring that we have a culture that supports staff to adopt innovative technologies, as well as appropriate regulation in place.”