Article | March 11, 2020

About the AI in Health Care Standard

Setting Foundational Definitions to Promote Innovation

More than 50 organizations — from major tech giants to startups and health care industry leaders — convened by the Consumer Technology Association (CTA)® have developed the first ANSI-accredited standard that sets a foundation for implementing medical and health care solutions built on artificial intelligence (AI).

CTA Senior Manager of Technology & Standards Kerrianne Haresign provided an insider perspective on the issues this new standard addresses, and why this matters for the future of digital health.

What Does the AI in Health Care Standard Say?

The new AI in Health Care standard defines terms related to artificial intelligence and associated technologies in health care, such as assistive intelligence, synthetic data, remote patient monitoring and more. With 11 definitions and characteristics outlined, the standard provides a framework for better understanding AI technologies and common terminologies so that consumers, tech companies and care providers can better communicate, develop and use AI-based health care technologies.

Along with the standard, the document also includes the ANSI-accredited standard that addresses the pervasiveness of AI-enabled technology across the entire consumer tech industry, defining more than 30 more terms.

Why Did We Need the AI in Health Care Standard?

AI-related terms have been used in different ways, leading to confusion — especially in the health care industry. In an area as complex and fast-moving as AI, it is crucial to set standards, which allow the health care industry to address common problems, such as these foundational definitions, and ultimately promote innovation.

As the health care system faces clinician shortages, an aging population and the persistence of chronic diseases in the U.S., technologically driven solutions, such as AI, will increasingly be used to meet clinician and patient needs.

What Problem Will the Standard Help Solve?

As the use of AI in health care technology grows and digital health becomes more widespread, this new standard will help create a more efficient health care system for Americans. When AI is used to better diagnose diseases, monitor patients’ recoveries and more, the new standard will help care providers make more accurate and consistent decisions.

One example is the difference between assistive and autonomous solutions, which are terms that are often confused. “Assistive” informs and drives diagnosis, with human interaction; “autonomous” is when the solution acts and drives on its own. This standard does not make recommendations for AI solutions, but rather sets a foundation of what should be included.

AI has and will continue to play a major role in health care, from counseling for mental health and wellness, to monitoring heart conditions.

Pat Baird, regulatory head of global software standards at Philips and co-chair of the working group that developed the new standard, said, “This implies that AI will be used for decision support and decision making, which stresses the need for professionals to be able to take ownership, apply judgment and empathy. Transparency and a common language will be key to enable the proper and safe functioning of AI.”

Definitions/Characteristics of Artificial Intelligence in Health Care