Written by Judith Riess, MTM editor-in-chief

Big Data and AI will significantly change the face of healthcare around the world. With these tools healthcare providers will be able to more rapidly and more accurately diagnose and treat patients and avoid unnecessary surgeries and drugs. These tools will also relieve some of the pressure and burnout that healthcare providers face. The following are but a few of the initiatives underway.

These tools will allow patients and providers to interact with each other in more meaningful ways and give patients and providers tools so patients understand what they need to know to ensure they are part of their healthcare team and that their provider has the best tools available to properly address patients’ care.

Last year, The Alliance for Artificial Intelligence in Healthcare (AAIH) was officially launched and held the organization’s inaugural meeting.

AAIH brings together industry leaders to promote the use of AI in healthcare and advocate for policies and regulations that promote rapid integration of the technology within the industry. Amazon Web Services (AWS), Bayer, GE Healthcare and Owkin are among the founding companies and organizations that make up its 22-person board of directors.

AAIH identified six standing committees to oversee AAIH’s work in promoting the advancement of AI. These committees are:

  1. Education and accreditation
  2. Federal engagement and regulatory affairs
  3. Investment and commercialization
  4. Communications
  5. Technology and standards development
  6. Industry performance and data analytics

“In selecting industry experts from established and emerging companies to lead AAIH, the Board demonstrated its commitment to the integration of AI across the full spectrum of healthcare with the goal of improving patients’ lives by creating more efficient, sustainable and accessible biomedical research and healthcare systems,” Annastasiah Mudiwa Mhaka, PhD, AAIH president and senior advisor with Adjuvant Partners, said in a statement.

The organization’s initial focus is on developing strategies and initiatives aimed at educating the public about the benefits and risks of AI, promoting investment in AI-related research and development, and working with government officials to develop regulatory and technology standards.

The U.K. Department of Health and Social Care recently issued a new code of conduct for AI systems to ensure that only the safest AI-based systems are used by the National Health Service (NHS). The ten principles that make up the code of conduct were established in 2018 and were drafted by a group of industry thought leaders, academics and patient groups to ensure expertise was gained from all contributing groups. The principles are:

  1. Understand users, their needs and the context
  2. Define the outcome and how the technology will contribute to it
  3. Use data that is in line with appropriate guidelines for the purpose for which it is being used
  4. Be fair, transparent and accountable about what data is being used
  5. Make use of open standards
  6. Be transparent about the limitations of the data used and algorithms deployed
  7. Show what type of algorithm is being developed or deployed, the ethical examination of how the data is used, how its performance will be validated and how it will be integrated into health and care provision
  8. Generate evidence of effectiveness for the intended use and value for money
  9. Make security integral to the design
  10. Define the commercial strategy

The U.K.’s commitment to AI-based technologies has led to an investment of more than £1.3 billion (about $1.6 billion USD) to support AI-based healthcare innovations. Additionally, the U.K. government recently announced it will open five technology centers dedicated to the utilization of AI-based innovations for disease diagnosis.

AI-based technologies are being used across the NHS in a variety of ways, including improving the early diagnosis of cardiovascular disease and lung cancer.  AI is also being used to decrease the number of unwarranted operations patients undergo because of false positives.

In Shanghai, multinational investment corporation, Tencent is working with the Shanghai Cancer Center to establish an AI-based, big data laboratory to streamline the cancer treatment process, according to Shine, a digital news organization under Shanghai Daily.

Using AI, the entities hope to develop a clinical research and treatment platform, improve medical record management, allow for early screening for people at high risk for cancer, assign patients to appropriate experts and improve follow-up management for discharged patients, according to the report. The effort is aimed at using AI to achieve more precise medicine, better patient matching for new drug trials and a streamlined cancer treatment process.

President Trump recently signed an executive order to spur the development, growth and regulations of AI in the country.