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Artificial intelligence (AI) can’t explain itself for doctors, patients, and regulators. The burden, then, falls on the shoulders of knowledgeable experts like those attending the 2022 AAMI/FDA/BSI International Conference on Medical Device Standards and Regulation (ISC22) to showcase the promise and uncertainty of AI and machine learning in medical devices.
That’s according to Jesse Ehrenfeld, MD, MPH, president-elect of the American Medical Association (AMA) and cochair of the AAMI AI standards committee. Ehrenfeld, an anesthesiologist and senior associate dean at the Medical College of Wisconsin, sat down with AAMI’s Robert Burroughs, chief learning and development officer, and Joe Lewelling, senior advisor for industry, to discuss the present and future of AI in the healthcare space following his keynote address at ISC22.
Ehrenfeld kicked off the discussion with results from ongoing efforts of AMA to survey the health technology landscape. According to the association, 1 in 5 physicians in U.S. say their hospital or clinic is using AI in some capacity. In many cases, this could simply serve to ease time spent on large datasets from patient information or medical billing, but Ehrenfeld was quick to note that this is an important foot in the door for a digital health future regardless of the application.
“What physicians tell us is that they see promise for AI in healthcare,” he explained. However, this growing trust in AI does not necessarily extend to patients.
“It’s a foundational issue,” said Ehrenfeld. “Even if we tell [patients] that an AI is going to get their diagnoses right more often and that it will be more cost-effective [than traditional care alone], many people are still unwilling to use and trust it."
How can the professional healthcare world unite to solve this trust issue and other roadblocks holding back the potential of AI? Ehrenfeld and other thought leaders are just beginning to develop suitable solutions through crucial discussions and the standards work showcased at this ISC22.
“I really appreciate AAMI and BSI and the FDA for the work they’ve done and continue to do in this space,” he said, noting the importance of setting standards through neutral conveners as trust and regulation are explored. “It’s a promising future and we’ve got to all be at the table.”