HAP's Latest News

How Should AI be Regulated in Health Care?

October 05, 2023

The future of health care may be supported by artificial intelligence (AI), and federal lawmakers are starting to debate how to regulate this emerging technology.

Last month, the ranking member of the Health, Education, Labor, and Pension Committee (HELP) published a report about artificial intelligence in health care. Before moving ahead, Congress will need “to leverage the benefits and mitigate the risks of how AI is applied,” the white paper notes.

“Health care is a prime example of a field where AI can do enormous good, with the potential to help create new cures, improve care, and reduce administrative burdens and overall health care spending,” wrote U.S. Senator Bill Cassidy (R-LA). “AI is also increasingly being adopted by businesses, consequently reshaping work, the workplace, and the labor market. But greater use of AI also carries significant risks.”

Here are a few things to know:

  • The issue:  The rollout of new apps, such as ChatGPT and Google Assistant, has spurred interest in the potential for AI in health care and many other sectors.
  • Potential applications:  The white paper highlights the potential uses of AI in health care, with a focus on patient diagnoses and clinical decision-making, administrative processing, education, and research. Many of these applications are in the early stages of development, but others are integrated into health care.
  • Concerns:  AI tools must be created with transparency to build trust, the report notes. Stakeholders should know the potential liability of using these technologies for developers, clinicians, and other users.
    • So-called “AI-enabled products” should not give undue weight to potential biases, the report says.
  • What they are saying:  In a letter last month, the American Hospital Association called for a sector-specific approach to AI regulation.
    • “This approach would allow the relevant oversight organizations to tailor the specifics of their regulation to the particular risks associated with the uses of the software,” the AHA letter said. “AI is not a monolithic technology, and a one-size-fits-all approach could stifle innovation in patient care and hospital operations and could prove inadequate at addressing the risks to safety and privacy that are unique to health care.”
  • The bottom line:  “The insights of stakeholders that can describe the advantages and drawbacks of AI in our health care system, in the classroom, and in the workplace are critical as policymakers grapple with this topic,” the paper concludes.

The full white paper is available online.