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Accelerated implementation of valuable AI applications in health and care

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Interview with Pieter Jeekel, chairman of the working group Health and Care

After following an international course on Artificial Intelligence (AI), Pieter Jeekel came into contact with the Netherlands AI Coalition (NL AIC), and since the beginning of 2020 he has been the chair of the Health and Care working group. His many years of experience in the healthcare sector on the cutting edge of innovation and implementation and his belief in the added value of AI come in very handy in this role.

Added value of Artificial Intelligence

Pieter: “I believe that the deployment of AI can have an accelerated positive impact on the health and care of citizens, care providers and the healthcare system. The working group aims to achieve measurable and sustainable impact on the development and implementation of valuable AI applications in all sectors of health and care. For this, it is of great importance that preconditions are fulfilled and barriers are removed to enable implementation on a large scale.”

Pieter Jeekel

Preconditions

Pieter continues: “Crucial elements for large-scale implementation are the availability of data, but also, for example, attention to important topics such as ethics and privacy. The Netherlands currently has very good healthcare, a good AI knowledge economy and has learned to work well together. This is a wonderful basis for all partners and participants of the NL AIC to excel with AI in certain parts of the sector. Investing in stimulating innovations and working on the basis is an important starting point. The working groups of the building blocks are very important for this basis and deliver important results such as a national AI course specifically for healthcare providers, a guideline for guidance ethics, an approach for data sharing, matchmaking for startups and scale-ups and the formation of the AI network.”

Ambition of the working group

The main objective of the working group is measurable social impact. By improving the health of citizens, by strengthening healthcare providers and also by making a significant contribution to a more manageable healthcare system. The result is a better international position in the field of AI in healthcare. Both the potential for relevant Dutch AI activities and cooperation in the area of data availability and knowledge are part of international contacts. In this way, we enable valuable innovations to grow and be widely developed and implemented in the Netherlands and abroad.

Pieter: “We recently participated in an online mission with France and held sessions with Singapore and Germany to further shape the international ambitions of the NL AIC working groups. In these meetings, we bring organisations, companies and experts into contact with each other across borders and sectors. To learn from each other, facilitate potential partnerships and help NL AIC participants realise their international strategy and approach.”

Joint approach

Together with the participants of the working group, six thematic teams are working to help valuable AI innovations and to fill in the necessary preconditions. Pieter: “In 2020, three concrete use cases were selected, after which we started working with hospitals, health insurers, the government, patient associations and the media to implement these use cases more broadly. Required tools such as an AI-readiness scan, assessment tools and an implementation guideline are now being developed further as a result of this exercise. These tools and experiences will be used in the four recently announced trajectories where new use cases will be selected. In the field of dementia/brain, lifestyle and prevention, data availability and oncology/data sharing. The ambition of the participants is to cooperate and excel in these areas nationwide.”

What will it deliver?

In two years time, several Dutch AI innovations will be widely used in the Netherlands and abroad. That is the objective of the working group. It should then be possible, for example, to ‘copy’ an AI innovation into a new healthcare institution without being hindered by the fact that data or processes are organised differently in this environment. Pieter: “It’s great to see that the potential of the Netherlands in terms of knowledge, skills, research and entrepreneurship is so much more developed than I thought at the beginning. If we work together and make the right choices, we can really belong to the top internationally in various fields.”

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