Government Accountability Office, Technology Assessment: Artificial Intelligence in Health Care: Benefits and Challenges of Technologies to Augment Patient Care (GAO-21-7SP) (Nov. 30, 2020) (full-text).
Artificial intelligence (AI) represents a set of technologies that includes automated systems able to perform tasks that normally require human intelligence, such as visual perception, speech recognition, and decision-making. AI has promising applications in health care, including in augmenting patient care. For example, it may have the potential to improve treatment, reduce burden on providers, and generally increase the efficiency with which health care facilities and providers use resources, resulting in potential cost savings or health gains. However, as might be expected with a tool with such broad potential use in health and health care decision-making, applying AI tools for health and health care also raises ethical, legal, economic, and social questions.
The GAO and the National Academy of Medicine (NAM), individually and in collaboration, have taken up the charge to explore AI in augmenting patient care both inside and outside traditional clinical settings, assess its implications, and identify key policy options available for optimizing its use. GAO and NAM have cooperated on the development of two publications. The first is GAO’s "Technology Assessment: Artificial Intelligence in Health Care: Benefits and Challenges of Technologies to Augment Patient Care," presented as Part One. The second is NAM’s "Special Publication: Advancing Artificial Intelligence in Health Settings Outside the Hospital and Clinic," presented as Part Two. Any recommendations in Part Two are those of NAM alone.
The GAO was asked to conduct a technology assessment on the use of AI technologies to improve patient care, with an emphasis on foresight and policy implications. This report discusses (1) current and emerging AI tools available for augmenting patient care and their potential benefits, (2) challenges surrounding the use of these tools, and (3) policy options to address challenges or enhance benefits of the use of these tools.