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Oscar Williams

News editor

Microsoft’s Satya Nadella claims AI could dramatically reduce NHS costs

Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella has claimed that new machine learning tools could dramatically reduce the cost of providing NHS healthcare.

Speaking at Microsoft Decoded in London on Thursday, Nadella noted that the costs associated with providing healthcare in the UK have doubled since 2000.

He said: “If you talk about any improvement of the economy here, there’s no way you’re going to think about it without taming the ever increasing costs of healthcare.

“New tools could change how care is given, how the patient is informed and most importantly the trajectory of healthcare costs going up.”

Some NHS trusts are already using Microsoft’s cloud-based tools to make their services more cost effective. Nadella highlighted efforts made by South London and Maudsley NHS Foundation Trust to boost patient capacity using Microsoft’s PowerBI dashboards.

“One of the fundamental challenges is providing self-service for the patients so they’re in control of their care,” he told attendees at the Excel Centre. “The other side of the equation is the operations inside the hospital.”

The NHS is one of Microsoft’s biggest clients in the UK. Earlier this year, NHS Digital agreed to spend £159m on upgrading the health service’s computing stock to the Windows 10 operating system. On Thursday, the company announced it has struck a deal to supply all of NHS Scotland’s 161,000 employees with Office 365 and Windows 10 E5.

“We are building a properly joined-up health and social care system, which is much more focussed on getting the right information to the right people at the right time, whether it’s a care professional or an individual managing their own health,” said Jeane Freeman, Scotland’s Cabinet Secretary for Health.

“That includes developing a new National Digital Platform, setting out common standards and approaches for healthcare systems, so that people can get the best care, regardless of where they are. Moving to Office 365 is a key building-block in that process.