California’s reparations task force has recommended as part of its set of proposals to pay for slavery and anti-Black racism that state lawmakers address what it calls “racially biased” artificial intelligence used to health care.
The task force, created by state law signed by Gov. Gavin Newsom in 2020, formally approved last week its final recommendations to the California Legislature, which will decide whether to implement the measures and send them to the governor’s desk to be signed into law.
The recommendations include several proposals related to health care, including some regarding medical artificial intelligence (AI), which the task force described as “racially biased” and contributing to alleged systemic racism against of Black Californians.
Specifically, the task force called on the legislature to fund state universities or government agencies to study the “potential for harmful biases” in medical AI.
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“The task force recommends that the legislature provide state funding to the California Department of Public Health, a University of California school, a California State University school, or other appropriate entity to study the potential for harmful biases in commercial algorithms and AI-powered medical devices,” the committee wrote in a final report outlining its recommendations, adding that the study should also recommend how best to control of medical AI applications in California.
The report further suggests that the study should examine “‘evidence-based research on the use of devices and tools that recommend adjusting treatment or medication to patients based on broad racial categories when not’ y information on genetics or socio-cultural risk factors.'”
The task force quoted from a recent American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) paper that it cited several times. The paper provides examples of alleged racial bias in medical AI, such as a tool intended to decide how best to allocate limited resources to additional bag care. -mothers who are at risk of postpartum depression who, according to the ACLU, focus on care from Black mothers. and favored White mothers.
In California, meanwhile, the reparations committee recommended that the legislature require the state Department of Public Health to issue guidance to hospitals and other medical systems to ensure that AI-enabled medical devices “not used for clinical applications without FDA authorization or approval, not used in patient populations for which they were not intended, and that cleared devices are not used outside of their intended use cases .” That recommendation is also in the ACLU paper.
The task force also wants the California Department of Public Health to “create and maintain a public list of software as a medical device (SaMD) products and provide demographic information about the subjects for which the devices calibrated or trained.”
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A fourth proposal is to allocate positions and funds to the California Department of Justice to pursue claims against AI medical device manufacturers if their products have “disparate effects” when they are used. of providers according to the manufacturers’ instructions or if the products are “misleadingly promising fairness.”
Despite the task force’s claims, however, new AI tools are helping medical professionals treat patients in different ways.
One such tool called RestoreU, for example, helps doctors create personalized care plans for patients with Alzheimer’s and other forms of dementia. Another tool known as DAX Express streamlines the note-taking process, a benefit that has reportedly helped doctors improve patient outcomes, work more efficiently, and reduce costs.
Beyond AI, the California Reparations Task Force has pushed several controversial health-related proposals, such as mandating “anti-bias training” and an evaluation based on that training as termination requirements. for medical school.
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The task force also pushed for a universal, single-payer health care system as a way to achieve health “equity” for Black residents of California.