Federal government takes aim at AI transparency in healthcare

The federal government is making efforts to regulate the utilization of artificial intelligence within the healthcare sector.

On Oct. 30, President Joe Biden issued an executive order requesting the federal government's health agencies to devise a strategy for overseeing AI with provisions related to the healthcare sector.

Under the order, the HHS will be tasked with developing a safety initiative dedicated to gathering information on AI-related practices that are unsafe and pose potential harm. These areas encompass AI applications that aid physicians in assessing patients and identifying illnesses.

Shortly after the order was released, 28 healthcare organizations, including multiple health systems, payers and healthcare companies consented to President Biden's "FAVES" principles which emphasize that AI in healthcare should lead to outcomes that are fair, appropriate, valid, effective and safe.  

The HHS followed suit. On Dec. 13, the agency released the "Health Data, Technology, and Interoperability: Certification Program Updates, Algorithm Transparency, and Information Sharing" rule. This rule is the agency's attempt at increasing transparency regarding the use of artificial intelligence in clinical settings. 

The commitments set by fourth President Biden and the HHS come as many healthcare organizations have been considering implementing AI-based tools such as generative AI, chatbots and large language models into their systems. 

Bill Gassen, president and CEO of Sioux Falls, S.D.-based Sanford Health — an organization that signed Biden's pledge — told Becker's that these principles are fundamental to the future of AI in healthcare. 

"We applaud the efforts to convene a diverse group of healthcare organizations to coalesce around landmark voluntary commitments that will be fundamental to the future of AI and allow us to responsibly advance the use of these technologies for the benefit of those we serve," he said. "It has been energizing to collaborate over the last several weeks with colleagues across the healthcare ecosystem on a framework that reflects our shared commitment to harnessing large-scale AI and machine learning models safely, securely and transparently."

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