Nurses protest AI at Kaiser Permanente

Hundreds of nurses gathered April 22 to protest the use of artificial intelligence at Oakland, Calif.-based Kaiser Permanente.

The California Nurses Association held the demonstration at Kaiser Permanente's San Francisco Medical Center to coincide with the beginning of KP International's Integrated Care Experience conference.

"It is deeply troubling to see Kaiser promote itself as a leader in AI in healthcare, when we know their use of these technologies comes at the expense of patient care, all in service of boosting profits," said Michelle Gutierrez Vo, BSN, RN, a president of the California Nursing Association and registered nurse at Kaiser Permanente Fremont (Calif.) Medical Center, in a statement. "Nurses are all for tech that enhances our skills and the patient care experience. But what we are witnessing in our hospitals is the degradation and devaluation of our nursing practice through the use of these untested technologies."

"AI has got to go!" nurses chanted as they held signs that read "Trust Nurses Not AI," according to an April 22 video posted to X by the San Francisco Chronicle.

The association is asking that nurses and union members be involved in "every step" of the decision-making process for the deployment of AI and other data-driven technologies at Kaiser Permanente and other health systems.

"Human expertise and clinical judgment are the only ways to ensure safe, effective, and equitable nursing care," stated Cathy Kennedy, RN, a nurse at Kaiser Permanente Roseville (Calif.) Medical Center and a president of the state nursing association. "We know there is nothing inevitable about AI's advancement into healthcare. No patient should be a guinea pig and no nurse should be replaced by a robot."

A spokesperson for Kaiser Permanente told Becker's its technologies empower nurses and enable them to work more effectively, resulting in improved patient outcomes and nurse satisfaction.

"At Kaiser Permanente, AI tools don't make medical decisions — our physicians and care teams are always at the center of decision-making with our patients," the spokesperson said. "We believe that AI may be able to help our physicians and employees and enhance our members' experience. As an organization dedicated to inclusiveness and health equity, we ensure the results from AI tools are correct and unbiased; AI does not replace human assessment."

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