Last week, the HAI AI and communications teams visited Brussels to hold a breakfast briefing for journalists. The briefing aimed to provide journalists with the opportunity to learn more about the impact of the use of AI in healthcare, particularly when it concerns key populations, who face layered patterns of inequality.

HAI’s research officer Janneke opened the briefing, with an overview of the application of AI in healthcare, focussing especially on challenging harmful industry and media narratives. Our research shows, that such narratives paint an overly optimistic picture of the use of AI technologies in healthcare and cover up the deep-seated risks that come with such applications. Janneke also highlighted that the point of care recipient of an AI technology, which in the context of healthcare is the patient, is not usually the one paying the bill for the technology. Moreover, neither are healthcare workers who are the main gatekeepers of the technology. In this latter case, customers of such technologies are hospital management or health insurers. As a result, there is a misalignment of incentives for innovation, which prioritises the potential financial interests of health insurers/hospitals over those of patients, with key populations being at a larger risk that AI systems won’t meet their needs or function well.

HAI consultant Hannah followed up with an in-depth examination of how AI in health impacts elderly people, particularly within the context of care. Hannah emphasized the many legal challenges that arise, including the right to health and quality of care, privacy and data protection, as well as liability. This was accompanied by an overview of gaps and shortcomings in relevant EU legal frameworks and suggestions as to what the EU should do to address the risks posed by AI to fundamental rights.

With a plethora of examples of how AI is currently used in elderly care, it was not hard to imagine our own family members or loved ones being potentially subjected to this technology. These feelings became clear throughout the vibrant Q&A discussions that concluded the briefing.

Hear more from our experts directly in our video below.

For more on AI in healthcare, visit the AI & Health website.