'Smart speakers like Amazon’s Alexa or Apple’s Siri are to be used by the NHS to analyse patient conversations and spot if they suicidal, it has emerged.
A new report published today into the technological future of the health service has called for trusts to embrace robots and artificial intelligence and said that London was already planning to embed AI into its mental health services to pick up those in danger of self harm.
Mental health patients can already access online programmes to aid their recovery and it is hoped they would hold conversations with ‘triage bots’ which would notice warning signs.
Facebook has been screening users posts for suicidal thoughts since 2017 and similar technology can now pick up worrying phrases that are spoken out loud.
The report led by US academic Eric Topol said a ‘technological revolution’ was underway which would see 90 per cent of all NHS jobs requiring digital skills within 20 years.
Virtual reality could also be used to help reduce pain and distress for wounded patients, and treat anxiety, phobias and post-traumatic stress disorder.
Trials are already underway in some areas, such as Oxford, where patients can receive help for a fear of heights by wearing VR goggles.
Artificial intelligence could also save time in interpreting scans such as mammograms, eye scans and pathology slides, and also improve the accuracy of diagnoses.
The report also calls for the use of robots in surgery to be expanded, while they could also automate repetitive tasks such as dispensing pharmaceuticals.'
Read more: Alexa-like bots will listen out for suicidal patients under NHS technology revolution
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