Department of Veterans Affairs and Department of Defense health agencies are using artificial intelligence to streamline medical care for military personnel and active-duty veterans, but they must be deliberate in their efforts to build trust in the underlying technologies and algorithms, federal officials said. at General Dynamics Information Technology’s Emerge Health 2022 event on Thursday.
During a panel discussion on health data and AI, Maj. Scott McKeithen, product manager for health analytics in the DOD’s Chief Office of Digital and Artificial Intelligence, and the Dr. Rafael Fricks, VA Associate Director for AI in Medical Imaging, discussed the potential for AI technologies and machine learning to dramatically improve patient outcomes, but also highlighted the need to showcase new innovations in a way that will lead to wider adoption of AI technologies in the future.
McKeithen said being able to easily explain this kind of technology to healthcare providers is a critical part of driving wider use of AI-based medical innovations.
“It’s important because they’re extremely smart at what they do, but what they don’t understand is all the technology behind it,” McKeithen said. “So the ability to be able to explain how your algorithm works, how you extract that information, and how you can present it in a way that they can trust it and be able to actually use it is important.”
McKeithen added that he hopes careful adoption and collaboration with healthcare providers and patients about these new technologies will lead to an outcome similar to people’s confidence in using Google Maps for directions, “because it’s been a part of our lives for a while.
Successful AI use cases, Fricks said, can also increase funding for additional AI technologies and new hardware. The VA performs about 1 billion medical scans each year, Fricks said, citing ongoing efforts within the department to provide healthcare providers with easier access to patient medical scans by training learning algorithms. in depth and by accessing specialized material to streamline the process.
“In order to justify the multi-million dollars needed to improve the connection between these cyber assistants, we need to show different use cases,” Fricks added. “Artificial intelligence could help us triage different patients, find secondary outcomes, and take full advantage of the data we’ve already collected.”
Fricks pointed to former President Donald Trump’s December 2020 executive order on promoting the use of trustworthy AI in the federal government, which included a stipulation that agency AI applications ” are sufficiently understandable. The VA then adopted its own department-wide AI strategy in September 2021, which also included increasing “veteran and stakeholder confidence in AI” as one of its four goals. strategic.
“We can promote adoption by making the solution explainable, at least to the skill level of the person who is supposed to use or benefit from this technology,” Fricks said.
As an example of AI’s potential to improve the DOD’s mission, McKeithen cited the Chief Digital and Artificial Intelligence Office’s work with the U.S. Army Medical Command to “bring predictive analytics, along with natural language processing and ‘Robotic Process Automation’ when reviewing the medical records of military recruits.
“The time it takes for a vendor or staff to clean up those records, to determine if a person has a medical condition that makes them unfit for service based on DOD requirements, is extremely time consuming,” said McKeithen. “So it brings efficiencies to the provider level or clinician level, using robotic process automation, using natural language processing to extract that information from scanned images, as well as having a scraping capability or by creating an algorithm around factors to make a prediction on the probability that an individual has X, Y or Z.