AI executive order directs health agencies to address safety concerns

Within 90 days of the order, the Department of Health and Human Services must establish an artificial intelligence task force.

The Biden-Harris administration issued a landmark executive order on Monday outlining best standards and practices to ensure the safe, secure and trustworthy use of artificial intelligence. This comprehensive strategy sets the first set of standards for the use of artificial intelligence across the healthcare ecosystem.

To advance the development of artificial intelligence that is safe, reliable, and trustworthy, the order builds on previous government work such as the Artificial Intelligence Bill of Rights. During the executive order signing ceremony, Biden described the order as “the most significant action taken by any government anywhere in the world on the safety, security, and trust in artificial intelligence.”

The plan calls on the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) to create a safety program that will receive reports, analyze harmful AI-related health care practices, and develop resources to build AI education tools. Additionally, the order promotes the responsible use of artificial intelligence in the development of life-saving drugs.

Dr. Heather Ross, a clinical associate professor at Arizona State University’s Institute for the Future of Social Innovation and the Edson School of Nursing and Health Innovation, said artificial intelligence puts several key interests at risk, including national security, economic development and personal safety. .

“The executive order is an important tool to direct attention to the development of artificial intelligence, both to signal that it is a federal priority and to guide the use of federal resources,” Ross told GovCIO Media and Research. “The challenge here is that even if technology It is itself constantly evolving, but also developing policies that are relevant to and support every competing interest in the short- and long-term future.”

Given the urgency, the order gives HHS a 180-day timeline to provide strategies on whether the health department’s AI technology can “maintain appropriate levels of quality.” For healthcare organizations, these priorities are critical as patient safety and privacy are at stake.

The order also calls on the nation’s largest health care systems to cooperate. Within 90 days, the U.S. Secretaries of Health and Human Services, Veterans Affairs, and Defense must establish an HHS Artificial Intelligence Working Group within their agencies. One year after its creation, the task force will outline a plan to inform leaders “on the deployment and use of artificial intelligence and AI technologies in health and human services, including research and discovery, drug and device safety, and health care delivery and services.” “. financing and public health).

“Our team is working hard to explore how artificial intelligence can help the Veterans Administration make better, faster, more informed decisions—improving health outcomes and benefits decisions for veterans while eliminating redundant administrative tasks. Artificial Intelligence Solutions It also helps us reduce the time clinicians spend on non-clinical work, which will allow our clinicians to do more of what they love most: caring for veterans,” a spokesperson for the Department of Veterans Affairs told GovCIO Media and Research stated in a statement.

Many experts worry about the immediate and long-term threats that AI could pose to the entire healthcare ecosystem.

“Ultimately, what the federal government is doing now with regard to healthcare AI governance will either improve health equity or create bias-driven harm that threatens the health of vulnerable populations and ultimately threatens the future of the United States,” Ross said.

“We already know that artificial intelligence systems pose serious civil rights threats in areas such as health care, housing, and hiring. In these and other areas, the president has directed the development of new standards to govern these ethics,” said White House Special Adviser Ben Bush. Cannan said during a virtual White House press briefing on Monday.

While the executive order sets standards and policies for health care organizations, the White House said they have no plans to stifle innovation in artificial intelligence.

“[The] The President is convinced that we need to have a vibrant, innovative and competitive AI ecosystem. ” Buchanan said.

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