In a blog post on April 19, 2021, the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) cautioned that efforts to harness the benefits of artificial intelligence (AI) should be coupled with safeguards to avoid introducing bias. As an example, the FTC cited a recent article in the Journal of the American Medical Informatics Association which warned that AI used to guide resource allocation for COVID-19 patients were fraught with bias. For example, using healthcare spending as a proxy for disease burden exacerbated inequalities arising from barriers to care for Black patients.

 

The FTC advises companies, including healthcare organizations, to examine data sets used for AI models to determine if the data is missing information from some populations. It also suggests testing the algorithm before use and periodically thereafter to watch out for discrimination on the basis of race, gender or other protected class.

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