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Diversity in digital health ‘is a matter of patient safety’

Encouraging diversity in the NHS isn’t simply a matter of inclusion, it’s a matter of patient safety, delegates at the Healthcare Excellence Through Technology (HETT) conference have heard.

Speaking on 2 October, Heather Caudle and Ijeoma Azodo, both members of the Shuri Network, stressed the importance of diversity when developing new technologies like artificial intelligence (AI). Without a diverse and inclusive team, “unconscious bias” can be built into technology, ultimately putting patients at risk.

The next step in ensuring inclusive digital health solutions is including technology teams throughout the whole process, Heather Caudle, Chief Nursing Officer at Surrey and Borders Partnership NHS Foundation Trust said. “In health what we have done really well is developed multidisciplinary teams when looking at the patient,” she told the audience at ExCel London.

“I think our technology colleagues are the next member of our multidisciplinary teams. If you think about AI and these new ways of doing things, how are we including the creators and the developers when thinking about patient care?

“We will have unintended consequences of artificial intelligence that hard-wires things like unconscious biases, that we are only going to treat people that are this age, this weight, this colour, because that’s how we think.

“Having that diversity on the team will help.”

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Source: Digital Health, 2 October 2019



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