In September the DHEW team were part of a Welsh delegation to the Intelligent Health Artificial Intelligence Summit. The summit brings together AI and Healthcare leaders from across the world to discuss how AI can be used to prevent and solve some of the world’s greatest healthcare problems, improve the health of the human race and set the global AI agenda in healthcare for 2020 and beyond.

Artificial Intelligence Summit 2019

With the wealth of AI projects being developed in Wales, the team were excited to meet with like-minded individuals at the world-famous AI summit. We made the most of this fantastic opportunity to raise the profile of the DHEW programme and the various AI projects currently happening in Wales. The Welsh delegation included Tom James, just before he took up his new role as Assistant Director – Innovation at Aneurin Bevan UHB, Emiliano Spezi, Leader of Medical Engineering group and Leader of Cancer Imaging and Data Analytics team at Cardiff University as well as Helen Northmore and Catrin Rees from the DHEW team.

The summit was attended by some of the biggest players in AI, as Emiliano explains…

“It was important to see that the summit brought together big Tech companies (such Google, Microsoft, GE Healthcare, IBM, NVidia), big Pharma companies (Novartis, Roche) as well as a number of start-up companies and Healthcare Service providers (NHSX, Alder Hey Children’s NHS Foundation Trust) developing AI technologies that can transform healthcare.”

With a jam-packed agenda the group attended a variety of keynote sessions, workshops and panel discussions throughout the two-day summit. The event also had its own app which meant everyone attending could request meetings and knowledge-share over a coffee in one of the multiple networking areas.

A highlight of the summit for Emiliano was a talk by NVidia, he explains:

“NVidia's talk among others (e.g. Owkin) highlighted the importance of "Federated learning" which preserve privacy while allowing cloud applications to learn models for predicting/monitoring efficacy of treatment and develop new biomarkers using large scale data. This approach was exemplified in the MELLODDY project which focuses on developing a machine learning platform that can make it possible to learn from multiple sets of proprietary data to accelerate drug discovery using a blockchain-based solution that preserves privacy.”

Another presentation highlight for Emiliano was a talk by GE Healthcare, he explains:

“GE Healthcare showcased their machine learned platform Edison that designed to integrate and assimilate data from disparate sources and apply analytics or advanced algorithms to automatically extract features medical images such as from X-rays and Ultrasound, improve workflow and generate clinical, operational and financial insights.”

With the use of the event app Tom was able to meet with representatives from different Governments and organisations worldwide and as a result of this, crucial relationships were formed and will continue to evolve over time and allow knowledge-sharing between countries.

Tom said:

“AI in Healthcare is a key future component of easing the burden on developed healthcare systems in the future, creating resource savings and freeing up clinician and practitioner time as demand on services continues to increase. Governments have a key role to play in considering AI usage across policy areas.”

It was evident to see that Wales is on the front foot regarding the creation of a bespoke ecosystem for digital health through DHEW and the Life Sciences Hub Wales. Part of DHEW’s work is to scope out what good practice is happening across the world and to be able to bring that home to Wales.

Catrin said:

“On day 1 of the summit we met with Jess Morley (Tech Lead for AI at NHSX). We discussed the 10 principles of NHS AI code of conduct that were published earlier this year. A key point I took away from this meeting was that NHSX welcome other countries to adopt this code of conduct. Similar to the work DHEW is doing with the adoption of the NICE Evidence Standards Framework for Digital Health Tech in Wales, it was great to understand how we could adopt and implement these 10 principles in Wales to help our healthcare system ensure that patients can benefit from the safest, best and most secure new technology.”

The team learnt a lot from the trip and are pleased to be able to bring these key lessons learnt back to Wales. A key lesson learnt for Tom was…

“AI development and benefit realisation will require underpinning frameworks that enable and support its application.”

The DHEW team attends external events throughout the UK and Europe to fly the flag for Wales as a place for innovation. The team visit with colleagues worldwide to share good practice which they then bring back to Wales. You can view the information and presentations the team collates on the Visits page.