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Artificial intelligence to be considered in Coombe strategy

The Coombe Women and Infants University Hospital in Dublin will consider the impact of artificial intelligence (AI) on services as part of its next long-term strategy.

The impact of AI on healthcare was discussed at the January meeting of the Coombe’s board of guardians and directors, minutes of which were seen by the Medical Independent (MI) following a Freedom of Information request.
The discussion at the board focused on AI “both now and in the future” and looked at “some very practical examples”, as well as “where this journey may take us”.


“The members discussed the need to start a conversation around the area of AI and what it can do for healthcare, acknowledging that the world is changing,” read the minutes.


The members of the board agreed that AI and its future impact on the hospital would be considered as part of its long-term strategy. The members also agreed that the Coombe would reach out to other health institutions on the topic.


“It was also agreed that there is an opportunity to work with universities and other maternity hospitals with regard to using AI to improve clinical care and patient journeys,” according to the minutes.


A hospital spokesperson confirmed to MI that AI would form part of its “long-term strategy”.


“However, these are ongoing matters that are under consideration of the board and the executive management.”


The Department of Business, Enterprise and Innovation (DBEI) is developing a national strategy on AI. It is intended to provide direction on the development, adoption and implementation of AI in Ireland in all areas, including health.


“The strategy is expected to be finalised and published in Q4, subject to Government approval. Whilst the Covid-19 crisis provided extra challenges, we have prioritised work on the development of this important strategy,” a spokesperson for the DBEI told MI.


“The development of the strategy is being underpinned by significant consultation. This reflects the high level of interest expressed by a wide stakeholder base. An online public consultation was carried out and further consultations are continuing across the Government system, with industry and their representative bodies, and academic and research communities.”

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