In a new report, the Government Accountability Office (GAO) is highlighting policy options to improve artificial intelligence (AI) tools that in turn can improve data access, create best practices, and improve health care delivery.

GAO offered the policy options in part to address several challenges associated with these AI tools, including:

  • Data access;
  • Bias;
  • Scaling and integration;
  • Lack of transparency;
  • Privacy; and
  • Uncertainty over liability.

“[AI] represents a set of technologies that includes automated systems able to perform tasks that normally require human intelligence, such as visual perception, speech recognition, and decision-making,” the report said. “However, as might be expected with a tool with such broad potential use in health and health care decision-making, applying AI tools for health and health care also raises ethical, legal, economic, and social questions.”

These challenges can impede widespread adoption of AI tools that show “promise for augmenting patient care” in the areas of clinical AI tools and administrative AI tools. GAO laid out six policy options to help address the challenges it has identified and to enhance the benefits of AI tools, and opportunities those policy options can provide:

  1. Collaboration: policymakers should encourage interdisciplinary collaboration between developers and health care providers that could result in AI tools that are easier to implement and use within a providers’ existing workflow, and implement AI tools on a larger scale.
  2. Data Access: policymakers should develop or expand high-quality data access mechanisms that could help providers deploy AI tools by providing guidance on data, interoperability, bias, and implementation, and address concerns of bias.
  3. Best Practices: policymakers should encourage relevant stakeholders and experts to establish best practices for development, implementation, and use of AI.
  4. Interdisciplinary Education: policymakers could create opportunities for more workers to develop interdisciplinary skills that could help providers use tools effectively and allow the AI tools to be implemented in a variety of ways.
  5. Oversight Clarity: policymakers could collaborate with relevant stakeholders to clarify appropriate oversight mechanisms that could ensure AI tools remain safe and effective after deployment.
  6. Status quo: Policymakers could maintain the status quo to allow challenges from being resolved through current efforts, as they may prove more beneficial than new options for hospitals and health care providers already using AI to augment patient care.
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Jordan Smith
Jordan Smith
Jordan Smith is a MeriTalk Staff Reporter covering the intersection of government and technology.
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