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Generative AI not ready to be released in the field of healthcare: Google’s Chief Health Officer

Speaking at the Global Digital Health Summit 2023, Google CHO Dr. Karen DeSalvo shares her views on generative AI’s role in the health sector and the principles required for patient protection.

What’s the news: Generative AI is still in early exploratory research phase and not yet ready to be released into the healthcare sector, said Dr. Karen DeSalvo, Chief Health Officer at Google, during the Global Digital Health Summit, 2023. DeSalvo’s comment was in response to the Health Parliament Founder Dr. Rajendra Pratap Gupta’s query on whether there is enough competence in the global healthcare sector to match the excitement around AI.

“We’re really in a very big imagination phase about AI. You asked a very important question which is are they ready for release? And they’re not,” said DeSalvo, while explaining how her company is considering the way in which to improve health outcomes via generative AI in a responsible manner.

She stressed that such technology in the field of health also needs to ensure privacy and cybersecurity, meets regulatory expectations across the globe and protects consumers/ patients as well.

Consider other tool technologies aside from Generative AI: DeSalvo pointed out that other technologies like simple data analytics systems deserve as much attention as generative AI. While some situations may require a complex AI system that traditional technology cannot provide like audio responses to user queries, in some situations natural language processing may present as the best way to get information from a report.

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Patients must be aware of how data is processed: Speaking about some important components of data sharing and usage in terms of governance, DeSalvo said, “The opportunity in India is really extraordinary because of the digital identity; the fact that there will be a way for people to [understand] consent and control and transparency, about how their data is used… it creates that partnership with the people that serve the patients and consumers… They understand what’s being built with [their data] for them and how they can handle [the same].”

In terms of foundational components for appropriate sharing of data and information, she said that there is a need for a “cloud-based layer that allows for cloud agnostic, interoperability, building fire capabilities, using fire standards, and building tools,” for consumers and caregivers, public health, etc.

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I'm interested in the shaping and strengthening of rights in the digital space. I cover cybersecurity, platform regulation, gig worker economy. In my free time, I'm either binge-watching an anime or off on a hike.

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