The Australian Medical Association – AMA Strengthens AI Regulations
The peak medical association in Australia has urged stringent regulations and transparency in the healthcare sector regarding the utilization of artificial intelligence (AI). This call follows a warning to doctors in Perth, advising them against using ChatGPT to write medical notes.
In its submission to the government’s discussion paper on safe and responsible AI, the Australian Medical Association highlighted the need for stronger regulations to safeguard patients, healthcare professionals, and foster trust.
The association noted that Australia is falling behind other countries in terms of AI regulation and emphasized the necessity for rules to ensure patient and professional protection, as well as to establish confidence in AI systems.
The incident in Perth, where several hospitals were instructed to discontinue the use of ChatGPT for medical records, further underscored the importance of these regulations. The CEO of the South Metropolitan Health Service informed staff via email that patient confidentiality could not be guaranteed when using such systems, necessitating their discontinuation.
The Australian Medical Association (AMA) has emphasized the need for comprehensive AI protections in healthcare, ensuring that clinicians have the final say in decisions and that patients provide informed consent for AI-driven treatments and diagnostics.
The AMA has also highlighted the importance of protecting patient data and implementing ethical oversight to prevent health inequalities. The AMA suggests considering the proposed EU Artificial Intelligence Act, which categorizes AI risks and establishes an oversight board, as well as Canada’s requirement for human intervention in decision-making.
The regulation should mandate specified human intervention points during the decision-making process influenced by AI, with the ultimate decision on patient care always made by a human. AMA President Prof Steve Robson acknowledges the potential of AI in healthcare but stresses the need to address the regulation gap to mitigate errors, bias, and privacy risks.
Google’s Chief Health Officer, Dr. Karen DeSalvo, believes AI can improve health outcomes but emphasizes the importance of developing reliable and ethical systems. A recent Google study found that their medical language model performed on par with clinicians in answering common medical questions.