Healthcare sector leaders urged Congress to pass regulations on the use of artificial intelligence (AI) in the industry based on experiences facing issues in the AI programming such as implicit bias and patient privacy.
Wednesday’s hearing on the use of AI in healthcare comes after companies like ChatGPT made waves in the healthcare space.
Witnesses expressed concern about implicit bias in AI used in healthcare that could potentially discriminate against patients based on demographics.
“Generative LLMs (large language models) must be ‘trained’ on massive volumes of written language — the ultimate compendium of human experience,” said Benjamin Nguyen, senior product manager at healthcare company Transcarent. “It therefore inherits the inherent biases of that experience through the data used to train the model.”
House Energy and Commerce Chair Rep. Cathy McMorris Rodgers (R-Wash.) echoed Nguyen’s concerns, voicing fears that “the possibility of human biases to be implicitly baked into AI technologies.”
When considering legislation, witnesses said Congress must consider the training procedures that could result in bias to ensure equitable use of AI in medicine.
Dr. David Newman-Toker, director of the division of neurovisual and vestibular disorders at Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine neurology department, said AI systems should be trained on “gold-standard data sets” to ensure healthcare professionals aren’t “converting human racial bias into hard and fast AI-determined rules.”
Members of the subcommittee on health and witnesses also discussed concerns about how the use of AI in medicine could compromise transparency and patient privacy.
“It is critical that safeguards are put in place to protect the privacy and security of patient’s data,” Rep. Frank Pallone (D-N.J.), said.
Peter Shen, head of digital health in North America for healthcare company Siemens Healthineers, said it is critical to work together and build “ethical, transparent and accessible AI in healthcare.”
Witnesses encouraged telling patients when and how AI is being used in the interest of transparency.
“I think it’s of the most paramount importance that patients understand who is treating them, and if AI is being used, there needs to be transparency,” Nguyen said.
As with AI use in other industries, lawmakers are tasked with balancing innovation and regulation when considering the use of AI in healthcare.
“[With the] absence [of] carefully crafted regulations, innovative payment incentives, and new research resources directed to overcome key barriers to successful deployment of high-quality AI systems, risks will dominate,” Newman-Toker said.