Artificial intelligence (AI) could lead to UK health services that disadvantage women and ethnic minorities, scientists are warning.
They are calling for biases in the systems to be rooted out before their use becomes commonplace in the NHS.
They fear that without that preparation AI could dramatically deepen existing health inequalities in our society.
A new study has found that AI models built to identify people at high risk of liver disease from blood tests are twice as likely to miss disease in women as in men.
The researchers examined the state of the art approach to AI used by hospitals worldwide and found it had a 70% success rate in predicting liver disease from blood tests.
But they uncovered a wide gender gap underneath – with 44% of cases in women missed, compared with 23% of cases among men.
“AI algorithms are increasingly used in hospitals to assist doctors diagnosing patients. Our study shows that, unless they are investigated for bias, they may only help a subset of patients, leaving other groups with worse care,” said Isabel Straw, of University College London, who led the study.
“We need to be really careful that medical AI doesn’t worsen existing inequalities.”
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Source: iNews, 9 July 2022