NHS enlists US tech giants to help allocate coronavirus resources

The NHS has called on the world’s biggest technology companies for support in the coronavirus crisis, drawing up plans to use data from its 111 service to predict where resources will be most needed.

A strategy is being prepared to use data from the medical helpline to help senior executives in the NHS model the consequences of moving equipment and clinicians to coronavirus hotspots. 

The health service is set to enlist the likes of Amazon and Microsoft, as well as Palantir, an AI start-up backed by billionaire Silicon Valley tycoon Peter Thiel, to create the digital tool. 

FacultyAI, a London-based startup, is also enrolled in the plans to support the NHS and has previously worked closely with the Home Office to detect terrorist content online. 

The data from the NHS’ 111 service will reportedly be congregated with other data sets in an anonymised way to protect patient privacy, according to the BBC. 

Visual dashboards will be created that pull together information from multiple NHS trusts about what ventilators are being used and where, the health status of medical staff and the availability of beds. 

The hope is that the data will give the NHS greater insight into the spread of the virus and its impact at a local level, while allowing action to be taken before hospitals and medical staff become overwhelmed. 

The NHS did not immediately respond to a request for comment. 

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