AMA develops new policies around physician use of AI

The group wants to advance the ability of augmented intelligence to enhance care, boost population health, drive value and improve physician satisfaction.
By Mike Miliard
02:50 PM

Delegates to the American Medical Association have endorsed a list of policy recommendations to ensure oversight and accountability for augmented intelligence and help guide its potential to enable efficiencies and improve patient and physician experiences.

The AMA will advocate for "oversight and regulation of healthcare AI systems based on risk of harm and benefit," according to the newly approved policies.

In addition, the AMA supports payment and coverage for AI systems, conditional with their compliance with "all appropriate federal and state laws and regulations" related to patient safety, privacy and security, practice and licensure laws, and more.

Effective AI systems should be informed by "real world workflow and human-centered design principles," said AMA officials. They should also:

  • Enable physicians to prepare for and transition to new care delivery models;
  • Support effective communication among patients, physicians and care teams;
  • Integrate "clinical, administrative and population health management functions into workflow"; and
  • Use feedback from end-users for iterative product improvement.

Additionally, the AMA specifically wants to advance "affordability and access to AI systems designed for small physician practices and patients and not limited to large practices and institutions."

It also called for government policies intellectual property laws that will foster innovation, competition, access and affordability as the technology continues to evolve.

The AMA said it will likewise support policies that don't penalize physicians who aren't quite ready to adopt AI systems while "regulatory oversight, standards, clinical validation, clinical usefulness, and standards of care are in flux."

It's similarly opposed to any mandates by payers, providers or policy makers requiring use of AI systems "as a condition of licensure, participation, payment or coverage."

These positions build on AMA's first set of policy recommendations on AI in medicine, which were published a year ago.

"Patients, physicians, and the healthcare system in the U.S. face enormous challenges in the  combined impact of a rapidly aging population, a relative decline in the working population that reduces revenue essential for safety net programs and persistent high costs of care that will strain the nation’s ability to support affordable, accessible, high-quality care," said AMA officials at the time. "With the engagement of physicians to identify needs and set priorities for design, development, and implementation, healthcare AI can offer a transformative set of tools to help patients, physicians and the nation face these looming challenges."

This year, the medical group also outlined its position on the use of augmented intelligence in medical education and physician training.

"Medical experts are working to determine the clinical applications of AI – work that will guide healthcare in the future," said Dr. Gerald E. Harmon, former chair of the AMA Board of Trustees, in a statement announcing the new policy positions. "These experts, along with physicians, state and federal officials must find the path that ends with better outcomes for patients. We have to make sure the technology does not get ahead of our humanity and creativity as physicians."

Twitter: @MikeMiliardHITN
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