Ethical Guidelines For AI In Healthcare Outlined By Philips CTO

The use of artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning (ML) algorithms in healthcare is increasing day by day and it will only grow in the coming years. With the investment strategies being planned increasingly and technological foundations are being laid down, the question about the ethical and responsible use of AI also rises.

Henk van Houten, the executive vice president and chief technology officer (CTO) for Royal Philips, has published a list of five guiding principles for the design and responsible use of AI in healthcare and personal health applications in order to clarify the company’s position on the issue.

The five principles laid down by van Houten are fairness, oversight, robustness, transparency, and well-being. All of these points have originated from the basic viewpoint that AI-enabled solutions should complement and benefit customers, patients, and society as a whole.

Van Houten argues that well-being should be the first and foremost priority in developing healthcare AI solutions to help alleviate overstretched healthcare systems. More importantly healthcare AI solutions are to act as a means of supplying proactive care, informing and supporting healthy living over the course of a person’s entire life.

Regarding oversight, van Houten called for proper validation and interpretation of AI-generated insights via participation and collaboration of clinical experts, data scientists, and AI engineers. About robustness, the CEO said that a robust set of control mechanisms was necessary not only to build the trust of people in AI among patients and clinicians, but also to prevent unintended or deliberate misuse. Van Houten wrote:

“Training and education can also go a long way in safeguarding the proper use of AI. It’s vital that every user has a keen understanding of the strengths and limitations of a specific AI-enabled solution.”

On fairness, van Houten wrote that one had to ensure that bias and discrimination was avoided in AI-based solutions. He warned against racial bias. Seeing the development of AI-enabled solutions in partnership, the CEO demanded complete transparency between providers, payers, patients, researchers, and regulators.