Artificial Intelligence in Healthcare

The Artificial Intelligence in Healthcare report serves as a comprehensive exploration of the status, applications, and strategic plans surrounding AI in the healthcare sector. It delves into the perspectives of stakeholders and outlines national strategies, shedding light on the current landscape and future intentions.

The primary objective of the study is to assist the European Commission in identifying and mitigating barriers to the widespread adoption of AI technologies in healthcare across EU Member States. In alignment with the Commission’s long-term goal of effectively implementing AI in healthcare, the study emphasises the importance of a common legislative and policy framework.

The report reveals that although EU Member States have prioritised healthcare in their AI strategies, there’s a notable absence of specific policies targeting the healthcare sector. Progress, however, is evident in the formulation of regulatory frameworks for health data management—a foundational element for advancing AI technologies in healthcare.

Despite a willingness among healthcare organisations in the EU to embrace AI applications, the current adoption is confined to specific departments, teams, and application areas. Widespread adoption is hindered by a lack of trust in AI-driven decision support, coupled with challenges related to integrating new technologies into existing practices.

Scientific contributions in AI healthcare predominantly originate from larger Member States, with collaboration being most active among these countries. The study identifies a demand for increased financial support to facilitate the translation of AI technologies into clinical practice, including acquiring Intellectual Property (IP) rights for developed technologies.

The report highlights six key categories where the European Commission is recommended to focus its efforts to support the development and adoption of AI technologies in the healthcare sector across the EU:

  1. A policy and legal framework specifically supporting AI development and adoption in the healthcare sector.
  2. Initiatives that encourage further investment in AI in healthcare.
  3. Actions and initiatives facilitating access, use, and exchange of healthcare data for AI applications.
  4. Initiatives to enhance the skills of healthcare professionals and educate AI developers on current clinical practices and needs.
  5. Actions addressing cultural issues and building trust in the use of AI in the healthcare sector.
  6. Policies supporting the translation of AI research into clinical practice.

Additionally, the report includes country factsheets providing an in-depth overview of the development, adoption, and use of AI technologies in the healthcare sector for each EU Member State. These factsheets consider legislative and policy frameworks, research landscapes, cross-border collaborations, startup ecosystems, and awareness levels based on social media mentions.

While most EU Member States are taking steps to establish strategies for AI in healthcare, the predominant focus is on research and innovation, with limited emphasis on initiatives promoting adoption within the sector itself. The startup ecosystem exhibits variations across Member States, largely propelled by private initiatives and support networks.

Lastly, the report observes that awareness among EU Member States regarding AI in healthcare, as reflected on social media and news sites, is event-driven. Peaks in awareness coincide with published articles or national-level initiatives covered in the local press. Overall, the report aims to guide the European Commission in navigating challenges and fostering the widespread adoption of AI in healthcare across the EU.