Artificial Intelligence in Health Care

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Saturday, May 25, 2019 - 09:00

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Dr Omar Khorshid
Prof Justin Beilby
Dr Louise Schaper
Prof Enrico Coiera
Dr Lance Lawler

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mood Sponsored by

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Artificial Intelligence (AI) is increasingly transforming the way we practice medicine – from how we interact with patients and carers to how we undertake clinical assessments and make therapeutic recommendations, conduct certain treatments and procedures, manage administrative tasks, deliver health services and more. Specific AI applications are virtually limitless and include, but are not limited to, clinical decision support and disease detection, surgery assistance with robotic devices, precision medicine and drug development, public health surveillance, virtual assistants that communicate with and monitor patients, wearable technologies and even management of health systems including patient triage, workforce planning and resource allocation.   

Using machines and computer systems to simulate processes normally associated with human intelligence such as learning, reasoning and self-correction, AI technologies can potentially work at speeds well beyond that of humans, 24 hours, seven days a week, with greater efficiency, accuracy and cost-effectiveness.   

As investment and innovation in AI continues to increase, so will AI’s rapid integration into health care. And with this comes a range of challenges that the medical and health care professions, patients, government and the wider community must address without delay. We need to ensure:

  • the ethical framework upon which AI technologies are developed are based on the ethos of the medical profession, where patients’ interests come first, not the interests of third parties;
  • the datasets upon which AI systems are developed and ‘trained’ have appropriate privacy protection and are truly representative of the Australian population;
  • the benefits of AI are distributed fairly and equitably throughout the population;
  • the data integrity and security of AI systems;   
  • the rights of patients to autonomy and informed decision-making are not compromised;
  • the human aspect of care is not lost or degraded;
  • professional autonomy and clinical independence are protected and not undermined;
  • AI decisions are undertaken with appropriate transparency and accountability (and there is sufficient redress in the case of AI-related adverse events);
  • the current and future medical and health care workforce is prepared to meet the changing demands AI will place on their knowledge and skills while ensuring that AI supports, and does not replace, them.

The ethical and effective integration of AI in health care heavily depends on the leadership and engagement of the medical profession. With a view to identifying relevant areas of advocacy for the AMA, delegates will consider and discuss current and future applications, and limitations, of AI in health care, the major ethical challenges and implications of AI for patients, the profession, government and the wider community, and the potential impact of AI on the medical and broader health care workforce both now and into the future.