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USA: National Nurses United pushes back against deployment of 'unproven' AI in healthcare

The United State's largest nurses union is demanding that artificial intelligence tools used in healthcare be proven safe and equitable before deployment. Those that aren’t should be immediately discontinued, the union says.

Few algorithms, if any, currently meet their standard.  

“These arguments that these AI tools will result in improved safety are not grounded in any type of evidence whatsoever,” Michelle Mahon, assistant director of nursing practice at National Nurses United, told Fierce Healthcare

NNU represents 225,000 nurses in the US and has a presence in nearly every state through affiliated organisations, like the California Nurses Association, which protested the use of AI in healthcare in late April. NNU nurses also represent nearly every major hospital and health system in the nation. 

Most AI nurses interact with is integrated into electronic health records and is often used to predict sepsis or determine patient acuity, union nurses said at an NNU media briefing last month. 

EHRs cause an estimated 30,000 deaths per year, which is the third leading cause of death in the nation, Mahon said. Adding what they call “unproven” algorithms to EHRs is not how the health system should be spending dollars, NNU says.

The union is demanding that all AI used in healthcare meet the precautionary principle, a philosophical approach that requires the highest level of protection for innovations without significant scientific backing. Any AI solution that does not meet this principle, which NNU claims is most of the AI currently on the market and deployed in hospitals, should be immediately discontinued, they say.

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Source: Fierce Healthcare, 3 June 2024


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