Written by 3:31 pm AI, AI policies

### AI Governance in 2024: A Look into the Future

Federal regulators are scrambling to create guidelines for the ethical use of AI in a number of ind…

In the pursuit of ethical AI utilization across various industries, government authorities are actively engaged in formulating regulations. The question arises: should collaboration be the cornerstone, or does individual ownership of governance take precedence?

As the new year looms closer, the focal point for every director in the care sector revolves around AI. A critical issue that looms large in this technological landscape is the aspect of control.

In a significant move last October, the Biden Administration set a precedent with an Executive Order that entrusts a substantial portion of regulatory responsibilities to the Health and Human Services Department, with Micky Tripathi assuming the role of the Office of National Coordinator for Health IT (ONC). Subsequently, a directive from HHS in December mandated greater transparency for AI tools deployed in clinical environments by the end of the ensuing month.

While the current regulatory actions have primarily targeted tech developers creating AI tools, healthcare system stakeholders are keenly observing the potential impacts of federal interventions on their technology utilization practices. Some health systems are taking proactive measures by establishing and adhering to ethical standards in all medical AI applications.

Dr. Ashley Beecy, MD, FACC, an associate professor of medicine at Weill Cornell Medical College and the medical director of AI initiatives at New York Presbyterian Hospital, highlighted the unique opportunity for healthcare networks to establish their own guidelines for the appropriate use of AI during a HealthLeaders discussion earlier this year.

Dr. Tarun Kapoor, MD, MBA, a senior vice president and digital transformation lead at Virtua Health based in New Jersey, emphasized that healthcare organizations possess the requisite medical expertise to develop robust and sustainable AI governance frameworks. Their in-depth understanding of healthcare applications enables them to focus on intricacies that national regulators might overlook.

Acknowledging the pivotal role of humans in AI decision-making processes, Virtua Health and other healthcare systems have implemented a policy mandating human oversight before finalizing any AI-generated outputs. While current AI implementations predominantly handle administrative tasks, the evolving landscape towards AI-driven clinical decisions underscores the importance of this additional layer of review.

Siva Namasivayam, the CEO of Cohere Health, a Boston-based firm leveraging AI to streamline prior authorization procedures, advocates for a collaborative approach where AI complements rather than replaces human judgment in healthcare decision-making processes.

The Biden Administration, in collaboration with over 30 healthcare entities and technology providers, aims to ensure responsible AI utilization and intends to establish a structured governance framework. Embracing a novel approach termed FAVES (Fair, Appropriate, Valid, Powerful, and Safe), the administration seeks to foster an innovative environment conducive to ethical AI practices.

As the healthcare sector cautiously navigates the integration of AI technologies, there is a growing realization of the need for proactive governance to avoid past challenges encountered during the hasty adoption of electronic medical records. The executive leadership within healthcare institutions faces mounting pressure to take charge of AI management and prioritize its strategic integration within their operations.

Dr. Kapoor underscores the importance of meticulous evaluation and cautious approval of AI initiatives, emphasizing the need for stringent oversight to prevent indiscriminate project launches.

In the evolving landscape of AI governance, Arlen Meyers, the president and CEO of the Society of Physician Entrepreneurs, advocates for proactive leadership within the healthcare industry to establish robust management practices. He highlights the emergence of AI-focused centers of excellence and the formulation of ethics and usage standards as positive steps towards responsible AI utilization.

The upcoming year is poised to be transformative as healthcare organizations expand AI applications beyond operational realms into clinical domains, necessitating a concerted effort to establish effective AI governance. The question of whether the healthcare sector will await federal regulations or take the lead in defining governance principles remains a subject of debate.

As discussions around regulatory standards intensify, the imperative for consensus-building between healthcare stakeholders and regulatory bodies becomes apparent. For lasting impact, a collaborative approach between the healthcare sector and government entities is essential to establish enduring rules that align with industry needs and societal expectations.

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Last modified: December 29, 2023
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