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Healthcare and the Digital World: Cybersecurity, AI, and Beyond

Posted By Viren Doshi, Esq., MPH, Wednesday, June 19, 2019

Technological advances are paralleled by healthcare delivery improvements and better health outcomes, but also by legal issues, cybersecurity threats, and the pervasive question: “what is artificial intelligence and why is it important?” With the declaration of artificial intelligence being the future of technology and healthcare, it is important to first define healthcare.

Having coined the term ‘artificial intelligence’ or “AI” in 1955, John McCarthy defined it as “the science and engineering of intelligent machines.” AI has been further refined to include (1) machines learning, referring to a machine’s ability to continuously improve its performance without humans having to explain how to accomplish tasks; (2) deep learning through neural networks, which encompass massively distributed computational systems that mimic the multilayered connections of neurons in the brain; and (3) the study of intelligent agents. The underlying similarity in each definition is software that has the ability to answer questions, perform tasks, and “learn” without human intervention.

Due to the vast uses of technology in healthcare, AI is poised to be the primary player in both the delivery of healthcare at the practitioner level as well as the monitoring of care on the personal health level. Uses of AI in healthcare delivery include clinical decision support software, radiology reporting , robotic procedures and surgeries, and more. AI on the personal health level includes wearable fitness trackers, heart rate and blood pressure monitors, and more. Such a wide use of AI in healthcare raises several important legal issues and considerations:

1. Privacy, Cybersecurity, and Consent: AI and other technologies are increasingly dependent on data inputs. How will the use of PHI be expanded or restricted in the digital world?

2. FDA Regulatory Framework: FDA regulates software that meets the definition of a “device,” including certain clinical decision support software. How will this be adapted?

3. Ethics and Consumerism: How can we ensure providers ethically transition to new technologies?

4. Liability: How and to where will liability shift, if at all, with the influx of new technology into mainstream healthcare delivery?

5. Payment: How will the adoption of new technologies affect payment models and amounts?

On Saturday, July 22, 2019 the Health Law Section of the South Asian Bar Association of North America will host a panel discussion addressing these questions and more.

Panelists include:

- Priya Bathija, Vice President at the American Hospital Association

- Viren Doshi, Counsel at Conner Strong & Buckelew (moderator)

- John Horn, Partner at King and Spalding

- Fazal Khan, Associate Professor at University of Georgia School of Law

- Atul Nakhasi, Physician at the LA County Department of Health Services

- Alaap Shah, Member at Epstein Becker and Green

References: 1. “Reference Terms: Artificial Intelligence.” ScienceDaily. Last viewed on July 18, 2019. 2. Bennet, Scott and Habte, Leeann. Artificial Intelligence in Health Care: Welcome to the Machine. AHLA Connections June 2018, 22:5 p.16. 3. “The Future Is Here: AI-Generated Radiology Reports Go Live at Hardin Memorial Health.” American Hospital Association. Last viewed on July 18, 2019.

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