AI could be pivotal for the healthcare industry

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Article published on October 13, 2023 on Healthcare Drive

René Quashie*, an executive at the Consumer Technology Association, argues that artificial intelligence could be pivotal for the healthcare industry — with regulation and guardrails. Artificial intelligence is poised to revolutionize the way we diagnose and treat illness and disease.

If that sounds like a bold claim, it shouldn’t. Already, AI tools are helping to improve early-stage cancer detection, reduce errors in medication dosing and provide robotic assistance in common surgeries. In some medical contexts, AI systems even outperform experienced doctors. 

A recent survey found that 44% found that ChatGPT could correctly diagnose more than 70% of the patients in the case studies used to train today’s medical students.people with obesity would change jobs to gain coverage for treatment. And more than half of workers would stay at a job they didn’t like to retain that coverage.

Boston’s Mass General Bridgham

But, as AI plays an increasingly integral role in our health systems, we must ensure that it serves all Americans. Inequities and discrimination already exist in American healthcare systems, and AI technologies can both reflect and magnify existing inequity. As just one example, a study from 2019 found that a healthcare risk-prediction algorithm used by major insurers systematically under-rated the health risks of Black patients.  

Fundamentally, that algorithm was biased. It’s a word we use more often for people than for systems, but as AI plays a growing role in our everyday lives, efforts to mitigate or reduce bias become increasingly urgent. These efforts, undertaken by researchers, developers and users, can help address the complex and nuanced problem that arise when data creation, collection and analysis collide with real-world prejudices or disparities. While eliminating bias entirely may not be possible, working to reduce its impact can help ensure that AI tools deliver on their promise for all of us. 

But what does that mean? 

*René Quashie is the first Vice President of Policy & Regulatory Affairs for Digital Health at the Consumer Technology Association (CTA). Prior to CTA, Quashie spent two decades in private law practice at several national firms, focusing his work on digital health and privacy. He earned his law degree from George Washington University.

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