As AI spreads through healthcare, ethical questions arise

New Infosys report points to the importance of "ethical standards" for maintaining and sometimes retraining talent as automation changes workflows.
By Mike Miliard
01:37 PM
As AI spreads through healthcare, ethical questions arise

As U.S. hospitals work to transform their IT infrastructure, workflows and data management processes, an impressive number of them are doing with the help of artificial intelligence, a new report from Infosys shows. That demands awareness around new staffing and training processes.

Respondents to the survey cite three big digital transformation goals: changing their culture to embrace innovation (65 percent), making smarter and more ubiquitous use of mobile tools (63 percent) and working to become more agile and customer-centric (58 percent).

[Also: 86% of healthcare companies use some form of AI]

As they do, several specific AI-supported processes are playing a significant role, according to Infosys. These include machine learning (77 percent), robotic automation (61 percent), institutionalization of enterprise knowledge using AI (59 percent), cognitive AI-led processes or tasks (50 percent) and automated predictive analytics (47 percent).

As healthcare organizations roll out more and more AI capabilities, they should "establish ethical standards and obligations for the organization as well as metrics to assess the performance of AI systems," according to the new report. "As people displaced from their current roles by automation are being retrained and reskilled to perform new ones, redirecting a significant section of that talent to operate and manage the ethics charge will prove beneficial."

Indeed, nearly half the respondents said their top priority is to automate processes in order to increase productivity (83 percent), ensure consistency and quality (68 percent), save time (48 percent), reduce costs (40 percent) and to minimize manual errors (40 percent).

Meanwhile, 74 percent of the respondents from the Healthcare and Life Sciences enterprises said "employee lifelong learning programs are extremely important to their organizations," according to the report. Seventy percent said they help improves the abilities to fit into new roles and jobs, 18 percent say it improves their productivity and 7 percent say it prevents skills loss when employees with highly specialized skills retire or switch jobs."

This past month, Infosys launched a new AI platform, known as Nia, which converges the big data analytics, machine learning, knowledge management and cognitive automation capabilities of the company's first-generation platform, Mana, along with end-to-end robotic process automation capabilities of its AssistEdge technology, optical character recognition, natural language processing and more.

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