Proper regulation is required to ensure artificial intelligence (AI) doesn’t worsen health inequities across the system, the Australian Medical Association (AMA) has warned. In a keynote address to the AI in Health Readiness Forum in October, AMA President Professor Steve Robson acknowledged the vast potential of AI.
“AI has the potential to deliver dazzling innovation in healthcare in Australia and globally. AI has the potential to be transformative – that game changer we talk about,” Prof Robson said. But he warned AI could exacerbate the inequities in Australia’s healthcare system without proper regulation. He called for measures to ensure all Australians have equal access to future AI diagnostic technology and treatment options.
“Equity of access to diagnostic services that are AI-powered must be accompanied by equity of access to adequate treatment for conditions diagnosed,” Prof Robson said.
Prof Robson also called for regulation that addresses issues relating to patient safety, privacy, and professional autonomy. He said AI ethics in healthcare must be resolved before any widespread application, “and any AI ethics frameworks must not be voluntary but mandated to all those developing or implementing AI”.
He rejected claims regulation would stifle innovation, instead arguing good regulation gives clarity for creators, developers, and businesses.
Prof Robson said people “crave human connection” so AI won’t have the potential to undermine the role of people. It could instead be employed to help improve diagnostic and decision support tools and free up more time for faceto-face interactions with patients by simplifying the administrative burdens on health professionals.