Human autonomy still superior over any new healthtech
While AI is accelerating drug discovery and clinical trials, it cannot replace humans.
Doctors can use artificial intelligence to enable his decision making, but it should not be the AI’s decision to treat a patient, Partha Basumatary, BCG Southeast Asia Principal, said.
In an interview, Basumatary cited a guideline on the ethical usage of technology in healthcare which pointed out that any new technology should not compromise human autonomy, and it should not overpower the decision making of a human being.
“Digital tools and technologies that are currently being developed should consider whether it is safe, whether it is efficacious, whether it does not compromise the effectiveness of the patient, or the treatment of the patient. I think those things are very, very important,” he added.
Basumatary explained that there should also be accountability in using AI as AI's decision-support tools must remain just that—supportive rather than decisive.
“Industry players should not shirk away their responsibility by saying no, it was a decision taken by AI, right,” he said, “You should also make sure that AI is equitable. AI outcomes could be biassed. So it should be equitable from a digital in healthcare perspective, as well. And at the end of the day, it should also be sustainable considering the situation we are in.”
Basumatary added that AI technology is revolutionising healthcare by accelerating drug discovery, streamlining clinical trials, and enhancing patient management. It's also proving invaluable in diagnostics, where it often detects issues that evade the human eye.
"AI technologies can help detect or predict disorders or conditions for patients, which can actually help in early treatment intervention," Basumatary explains, saying that this capability is not only improving patient outcomes but is also potentially lowering healthcare costs for both governments and insurance payers.
As hospitals incorporate more AI tools, safeguarding sensitive patient data remains a critical issue. Basumatary suggests this is not a new challenge but one that requires constant vigilance. Hospitals must maintain stringent policies, continuous employee training, and regular policy updates to keep pace with the rapidly evolving technology.
“Having very tight rules and regulations and policies within the organisation plays an important role. I think having the right level of training and change management for employees is important as well. You cannot just do the training or create the policies once and then it's done forever, I think you need to update it and modify it on a regular basis,” he said.
Looking to the future, Basumatary sees a dynamic landscape where ethics and AI in healthcare will continue to develop hand in hand. He anticipates more stabilised standards in the coming years, with global guidelines becoming more localised and nuanced to individual regions' needs.
“At this point, I would say that it's an exciting time, things are evolving. And maybe in the next few years, many of these standards will be more stabilised. And also there are quite a few global standards. Those standards will probably be more localised and more nuanced to our region going forward,” he ended.