Survey: Few Health Systems Have AI Governance Policies

Feb. 15, 2024
Although only 16 percent of those surveyed have a system-wide governance policy in place, many have formed governance committees

In a recent survey, only 16 percent of health system respondents said their organizations have in place a system-wide governance policy addressing the use of artificial intelligence, and even fewer have policies specific to generative AI.

The Center for Connected Medicine (CCM) at UPMC partnered with KLAS Research to survey nearly three dozen health system executives about how they are navigating both the promise of AI and the possible risk to patient data and privacy that could accompany the use of AI in health care without appropriate safeguards.

CCM said the research comes as AI is drawing greater interest from health systems looking to help reduce the burden of documentation on clinicians and add automation to administrative functions, among other potential benefits. At the same time, vendors increasingly are touting AI in their products.
 
Although only 16 percent of survey respondents said their organizations had a system-wide governance policy in place, many said their health systems have formed governance committees of senior executives from multiple departments to oversee AI. 

“There are many ways health care can and will benefit from AI, including freeing up our clinicians to focus more on caring for patients and helping systems more efficiently process a range of tasks,” said Robert Bart, M.D., chief medical information officer for UPMC, in a statement. “But it is essential that healthcare executives also take seriously the responsibility to protect our patients’ privacy and health data. At UPMC, we uphold the highest standards of security and privacy for all our data.” 

UPMC is a founding partner of the CCM. 

Surveyed executives identified improving efficiency, bringing more visibility to clinical decisions and automating repetitive tasks as the top three ways they expect generative AI to enhance health care. Of the executives surveyed, 70 percent said they have or plan to adopt AI solutions via EHR vendors due to the easy integration. 
 
“Before adopting generative AI technologies in healthcare, it’s crucial for executives to clearly define their objectives and establish measurable benchmarks,” said Jeffrey Jones, senior vice president of product development at UPMC Enterprises, in a statement. (UPMC Enterprises is the innovation, commercialization and venture capital arm of UPMC.)

 “Regular evaluations are essential to adjust strategies as necessary. Generative AI is not a one-time fix, but a dynamic tool that requires attention and calibration," Jones added.

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