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Use of artificial intelligence in healthcare brings risks as well as rewards (Part 1 of 2)

Written by Bill Ahrens, Mazars

Artificial intelligence (AI) is quickly becoming a transformative force in healthcare, providing numerous benefits in areas including clinical practice, research, and administration. Soon, AI will not only dramatically change the delivery of healthcare, and the treatment and prevention of chronic conditions, but it will also significantly enhance the patient and clinician experience. Although AI holds the promise of revolutionizing healthcare, its use also entails many significant risks and challenges.

This 2-part series will address the benefits, risks, and strategies to mitigate risk.

To mitigate the information security risks associated with AI implementations, which include the automated accessing and processing of PHI, healthcare organizations need to be proactive in taking a risk-based approach to effectively identify and address any associated vulnerabilities and weaknesses. Risk and compliance frameworks such as the HITRUST CSF can greatly aid in this.

The HITRUST CSF is already considered by many as the gold standard in enabling organizations to meet various regulatory requirements and industry guidelines as well as gain assurance as to their level of cyber risk. As of version 11.2, it also enables organizations to add “Artificial Intelligence Risk Management” requirements to their assessments to gain an understanding of any gaps or risks to their AI cyber control implementations.

Image depicting artificial intelligence

The Benefits of Artificial Intelligence in Healthcare:

Among the ways AI is currently being used in healthcare are:

  • AI algorithms reliably analyze medical images with credible accuracy, assisting radiologists in detecting abnormalities and diagnosing conditions to enhance the speed and accuracy of diagnoses and help in the early detection of illnesses.

  • AI algorithms are used to develop personalized treatment plans by analyzing and synthesizing vast amounts of patient data. This precision medicine will result in improved treatment outcomes and fewer adverse effects.

  • Virtual health assistants/chatbots are used to improve the patient experience by conveniently and quickly answering questions, providing directions, enabling appointment scheduling, and sending out medication reminders. By offering 24/7 support to patients, AI technologies offload administrative burden from staff.

  • AI is improving the process of developing new and effective drugs by accelerating the discovery of potential drug candidates and predicting their efficacy and safety.

  • AI streamlines administrative tasks through automated medical coding, billing, and claims processing, thereby reducing errors and administrative overhead.

In Part 2 of the series, we'll explore the potential risks of AI in healthcare.

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