CTA, IBM, Google, others kick off initiative to set standards for artificial intelligence in healthcare

Initial members of the group also include Samsung, Philips, American Telemedicine Association, Brookings Institution, and more.
By Nathan Eddy
10:41 AM
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CTA Gary Shapiro HIMSS19

CTA CEO Gary Shapiro speaking at HIMSS19 in Feburary. 

The Consumer Technology Association launched an initiative to set standards for the use of artificial intelligence in healthcare, backed by more than 30 vendors and provider associations.

The group will examine and advance AI technology in consumer health, fitness and wellness technology and recommend best practices — with major tech outfits like Blackberry, Google and IBM among the initial members.

WHY IT MATTERS

AI is creating considerable buzz in healthcare, and pretty much everywhere else for that matter. Despite so much excitement, however, the industry is lacking widespread best practices like other verticals — notably automotive, search and business process management sectors — that could potentially help healthcare organizations save billions of dollars.

CTA’s new group will also work to create common terminology and develop methods for management and oversight of data, and members of the working group will look at pressing topics in the field of AI such as trustworthiness, ethics and bias.

“AI will boost our wellness and health care by improving outcomes, expanding treatment options and providing cost-cutting efficiencies,” CTA president and CEO Gary Shapiro, said in a statement. “We must seize the opportunity to realize the potential of AI ethically, strategically and with clear goals.”

The initiative will be co-chaired by Philips’ regulatory head of global software standards Pat Baird and CarePredict chief business officer Jerry Wilmink.

WHO ELSE IS INVOLVED?

The American Telemedicine Association, Brookings Institution, Connected Health Initiative and Federation of State Medical Boards are other institutions among the participants.

With major consumer electronics players like Samsung and telecommunications providers from AT&T to Verizon joining, the group represents a diverse set of stakeholders across the ecosystem, including clinicians, regulators, public policy and civil rights organizations as well.

[Implementation best practices: Dealing with the complexity of AI]

“The rapid progress of AI presents great opportunities but a special challenge that needs urgent attention,” CTA’s vice president of policy and regulatory affairs for digital health, Rene Quashie, said in a statement. “The work produced will provide an informed framework for the use of AI in the context of health care.”

In an interview with Healthcare IT News in March, Shapiro said the use of AI and 5G network technology could together be used to help keep people out of emergency rooms by avoiding collisions.

“There are more than 35,000 deaths a year, cars, trucks and pedestrian deaths,” he noted. “We have the tech which will cut down on ER visits.”

WHAT ELSE TO KNOW

In March the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services launched a new contest designed to speed the development of new AI tech that can better predict health outcomes and boost quality of care.

The competition could serve as an opportunity for tech innovators to demonstrate how AI tools like deep learning and neural networks could used to predict unplanned hospital and skilled nursing facility admissions.

And last year the CTA, for its part, published a set of Health, Fitness and Wellness Standards, developing industry testing protocols, accuracy thresholds and data availability minimums for biometric conditions such as step counting, heart rate and sleep monitoring.

Nathan Eddy is a healthcare and technology freelancer based in Berlin.

Email the writer: nathaneddy@gmail.com

Twitter: @dropdeaded209 

Healthcare IT News is a HIMSS Media publication.