What Biden's AI order means for healthcare

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, 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.

They also encompass tools designed to enhance the advancement of pharmaceuticals and medical devices, assess the standard of healthcare, simplify the management of insurance benefits, enhance the patient's overall experience and prioritize public health requirements, according to Politco.

The order aims to expedite artificial intelligence research, with a focus on providing grants for AI research within the healthcare field. Additionally, the government will promote increased research collaboration through the National AI Research Resource, aimed at granting researchers access to vital datasets.

The executive order will also mandate that creators of advanced AI systems share their safety testing outcomes with the government.

This comes at a time when many healthcare organizations have been considering implementing AI-based tools such as generative AI, chatbots and large language models into their systems, with some already being integrated into EHR systems.

However, many IT leaders have stressed that although AI tools can prove meaningful in healthcare, they can also be harmful if they use inaccurate information and if they are not regulated.

 "As technology advances, the medical community will need to develop standards for these innovative technologies, as well as revisit current regulatory systems on which physicians and patients rely to ensure that healthcare AI is responsible, evidence-based, bias-free, and designed and deployed to promote equity," Mike Thompson, vice president of enterprise data intelligence at Los Angeles-based Cedars-Sinai, said in an Oct. 25 news release. 

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