NYT: Is FDA's endorsement of AI premature?

NCPA October 31, 2023

On Monday, the New York Times reported on a lack of foresight at the FDA, whose approval of about 350 medical software products for sale that incorporate artificial intelligence has led to mixed results. On one hand, AI offers the promise of efficiency — from auto-fill content to help staff who repeatedly enter intake information to sharper diagnostic suggestions based on data and patient symptoms. AI’s “large language models,” or LLMs, can crunch vast amounts of data about frequency and probability to deliver information to providers quickly and, many say, with a reasonable margin of error. On the other hand, many feel that the range of what AI does imperfectly has an unacceptable margin for error related to patient privacy or, at the very worst, poor recommendations on how patients should be prioritized by providers during the acute care phase, as the article’s reporter Christina Jewett notes. The report came on the heels of President Biden’s executive order on Monday calling for AI regulations among government agencies, and just two days ahead of a Bletchley Park summit about the future of AI regulation, hosted by British Prime Minister Rishi Sunak, who will welcome representatives from the U.S., including Vice President Kamala Harris, as well as from the European Commission and Italy.

Of course, AI represents a bigger umbrella than intake efficiencies, billing coding, or diagnostics. You might even be utilizing it for things like marketing, for instance, or cash pricing optimization (as seen in Prescryptive Health’s webinars about profitability promoted by NCPA over the past year). In any event, stay tuned to qAM for more on how AI is impacting health care broadly and how it pertains to the future of pharmacy.