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Alexa-like bots will listen out for suicidal patients under NHS technology revolution

Using phones or Skype for diagnoses and treatment has the potential for significant savings, and free up 5.7 million hours of GPs’ time across England annually, the report concludes.

Health Secretary Matt Hancock said: “Our health service is on the cusp of a technology revolution and our brilliant staff will be in the driving seat when it happens.

“Technology must be there to enhance and support clinicians. It has the potential to make working lives easier for dedicated NHS staff and free them up to use their medical expertise and do what they do best: care for patients.”

 The report also highlighted the breakthrough in genetic sequencing which will see five million genomes studied over the next five years, speeding up research into cancers and rare diseases.

 However the new report also comes with a warning that the wealth of data that will be gathered could be misused.

AI’s ability to mimic human behaviours could be seen as ‘manipulative or deceptive’ so patients must always be made aware if they are communicating with man or machine, it says.

And, while innovation has the ability to redress inequalities, there is also the potential to ‘exacerbate’ them, with evidence that digital health records have lower uptake among the poor and ethnic minorities.

Commenting on the report The Royal College of Physicians said it was vital that regulation was in place to make sure technology was not abused.

Professor Andrew Goddard, president of the RCP, said: “We  must also make sure that roll out of technology across the NHS is measured, responsible and done safely.

“Regulation and critical appraisal is vital in ensuring constant evaluation and improvement – which doctors must play an active role in.”