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Business News/ News / India/  ICMR releases first ethical guidelines for AI in healthcare

The Department of Health Research and ICMR's Artificial Intelligence Cell have released the initial ethical guidelines for applying artificial intelligence in biomedical research and healthcare in India. 

The guidelines aim to establish an ethical framework for the development of AI-based tools that can benefit all stakeholders.

AI in health relies heavily on data obtained from human participants, which raises concerns about potential biases, data handling, interpretation, autonomy, risk minimization, professional competence, data sharing, and confidentiality, according to a document drafted by the two organizations.

"It is therefore imperative to have an ethical framework that addresses issues specific to AI for biomedical research and healthcare," the guidelines stated.

The adoption of AI technology in healthcare is growing in India. However, AI as data-driven technology has many potential ethical challenges which include algorithmic transparency and explainability, clarity on liability, accountability and oversight, bias and discrimination, said ICMR Director General Dr Rajiv Behl.

"The DHR-ICMR AI Cell has identified the need to develop these guiding ethical principles concerning artificial intelligence and machine learning-based tools.

"These guidelines will provide the ethical framework for the development of AI-based tools which will benefit all stakeholders, including innovators, developers, patients, technologists, researchers, healthcare professionals, ethics committees, sponsors and funding agencies involved in research related to AI in biomedical research and healthcare," he said.

According to Dr. N K Arora, head of NTAGI, the goal of these guidelines is to establish an ethical framework that will aid in the creation, implementation, and acceptance of AI-based solutions in biomedical research and healthcare delivery.

The guidelines are designed for all parties interested in researching AI in healthcare, such as creators, developers, technicians, researchers, clinicians, ethics committees, institutions, sponsors, and funding organizations.

The guideline for AI-based tools in biomedical research and healthcare contains distinct sections that cover ethical principles for AI in health, guiding principles for stakeholders, the ethics review process, governance of AI in healthcare and research, and the informed consent process that involves human participants and their data. 

According to Dr. Arora, the guideline was created after thorough consultations with subject matter experts, researchers, and ethicists.

The induction of AI into healthcare has the potential to be the solution for significant challenges like diagnosis and screening, therapeutics, preventive treatments, clinical decision-making, public health surveillance, complex data analysis, and predicting disease outcomes. This list is likely to grow in the future, the document said.

The purpose of these guidelines is not to limit innovation or recommend any disease-specific diagnostic or therapeutic approach but to guide effective yet safe development, deployment and adoption of AI-based technologies in biomedical research and healthcare delivery, it said.

These guidelines will be used by experts and ethics committees reviewing research proposals involving the use of AI-based tools and technologies.





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Updated: 26 Mar 2023, 09:22 PM IST
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