Nicky meets the British Heart Foundation to discuss Artificial Intelligence

Nicky has met with British Heart Foundation (BHF) staff to find out about the impact of artificial intelligence (AI) on heart and circulatory conditions.

During the recent Conservative Party Conference Nicky spoke with the BHF’s policy team to hear how the charity is funding innovative research to find better ways to diagnose and treat heart failure, which is a leading cause of hospital admissions for over-65s.

As the largest independent funder of cardiovascular research in the UK, the BHF is committed to accelerating progress in data science to find new ways of diagnosing and treating the more than 7 million people living with heart and circulatory disease in the UK. 

One of the BHF-funded research projects Nicky discussed with the charity is a project being run by Professor Declan O’Regan at Imperial College London.

Professor O’Regan’s research uses artificial intelligence to help diagnose certain conditions more effectively than doctors are able to. Currently, diagnosis of heart failure relies on a doctor interpreting scans and it can be difficult for them to predict how the disease will progress.

To help address this, Professor O’Regan’s team have developed a machine learning algorithm ‘trained’ to find links between 3D heart scans and the patient’s prognosis, using existing patient data. This can help inform doctors’ decisions about how to best treat people living with heart failure.

Nicky and the BHF also discussed the need for clarity about who is responsible for regulating artificial intelligence, and ensuring that AI systems are transparent about how they reach decisions. This is important so that patients can have trust in these rapidly developing technologies that have the potential to improve outcomes for people living with heart and circulatory conditions.

After her meeting Nicky said “It was great to speak with the British Heart Foundation at Conservative Party Conference to hear about how the charity is funding cutting-edge research, harnessing the power of AI to save lives.

It was interesting to learn how the BHF is using new technology and data to help doctors better diagnose and treat the 550,000 people in the UK who have been diagnosed with heart failure.

I agree with the BHF that we need clarity about who is responsible for regulating artificial intelligence in healthcare, so that people can trust these new technologies that offer potentially significant benefits for the more than 7 million people living with heart and circulatory conditions in the UK.”

Simon Gillespie, Chief Executive of the British Heart Foundation said “Bringing together healthcare and artificial intelligence has the potential to transform diagnosis and treatment of heart and circulatory diseases that affect 7 million people in the UK.

To realise this potential, the NHS needs the ability to trial and adopt these new technologies. And we need a robust and transparent regulatory framework to ensure patients can have confidence in the security and use of their data in their care and treatment, and in having their data used in research that could improve and save many lives.”