White House gets pledges from big healthcare players on AI safety and ethics


Less than two months since the Biden Administration published its sweeping executive order on artificial intelligence, the White House on Thursday announced new commitments to AI transparency, risk management and responsibility from more than two dozen leading healthcare organizations.

WHY IT MATTERS
The White House EO, which was published on October 30, and has a wide array of provisions focused on “safe, secure and trustworthy” AI across many sectors of the economy, contains several healthcare-specific provisions in its nearly 20,000 words. Most notably, it directs the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services to put a mechanism in place to collect reports of “harms or unsafe healthcare practices.”

On December 14 – coinciding with the inaugural day of the HIMSS AI in Healthcare Forum in San Diego – the Biden Administration announced new voluntary commitments around healthcare AI safety and security from the private sector.

Specifically, a cohort of 28 providers and payers have today announced voluntary commitments toward more transparent and trustworthy use and purchase and use of AI-based tools, and efforts to develop their machine models more responsibly. They are:

  • Allina Health

  • Bassett Healthcare Network

  • Boston Children’s Hospital

  • Curai Health

  • CVS Health

  • Devoted Health

  • Duke Health

  • Emory Healthcare

  • Endeavor Health

  • Fairview Health Systems

  • Geisinger

  • Hackensack Meridian

  • HealthFirst (Florida)

  • Houston Methodist

  • John Muir Health

  • Keck Medicine

  • Main Line Health

  • Mass General Brigham

  • Medical University of South Carolina

  • Oscar Health

  • OSF HealthCare

  • Premera Blue Cross

  • Rush University System for Health

  • Sanford Health

  • Tufts Medicine

  • UC San Diego Health

  • UC Davis Health

  • WellSpan Health

“The commitments received today will serve to align industry action on AI around the “FAVES” principles – that AI should lead to healthcare outcomes that are Fair, Appropriate, Valid, Effective, and Safe,” said National Economic Advisor Lael Brainard, Domestic Policy Advisor Neera Tanden and Director of the Office of Science and Technology Policy Arati Prabhakar in announcing the new pledge from these leading organizations.

As part of the agreement, the healthcare orgs have promised:

  1. To inform patients and customers when showing them content that is substantially AI-generated and not reviewed or edited by people. 

  2. To embrace and adhere to a risk management framework for using AI-powered apps, one that will help them monitor and mitigate potential harms.

  3. To investigate and develop new approaches to AI that “advance health equity, expand access to care, make care affordable, coordinate care to improve outcomes, reduce clinician burnout, and otherwise improve the experience of patients.”

THE LARGER TREND
The new commitments come during a busy week of news for healthcare AI. On Wednesday, the Office of the National Coordinator for Health IT published its Health Data, Technology, and Interoperability: Certification Program Updates, Algorithm Transparency, and Information Sharing final rule, or HTI-1.

Among other provisions focused on interoperability and information blocking, the much-awaited regs have a special focus on AI algorithm transparency. They include requirements that predictive algorithms included in certified health IT “make it possible for clinical users to access a consistent, baseline set of information about the algorithms they use to support their decision making and to assess such algorithms for fairness, appropriateness, validity, effectiveness and safety,” according to ONC.

Meanwhile, in San Diego, hundreds of clinical and technology leaders are currently gathered at the HIMSS AI in Healthcare Forum to explore the promise and risks of artificial intelligence in all its manifestations – focused on challenges and opportunities around regulation, patient safety, privacy and security, explainability, and many more imperatives. Check back on Healthcare IT News in the days and weeks ahead for more coverage and video from the show.

ON THE RECORD
“We must remain vigilant to realize the promise of AI for improving health outcomes,” said White House officials in touting the news promises from healthcare organizations. “Without appropriate testing, risk mitigations and human oversight, AI-enabled tools used for clinical decisions can make errors that are costly at best – and dangerous at worst.

“The private-sector commitments announced today are a critical step in our whole-of-society effort to advance AI for the health and wellbeing of Americans,” they added. “These 28 providers and payers have stepped up, and we hope more will join these commitments in the weeks ahead.”

Mike Miliard is executive editor of Healthcare IT News
Email the writer: mike.miliard@himssmedia.com
Healthcare IT News is a HIMSS publication.


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