The advent of generative artificial intelligence models like ChatGPT has sparked renewed interest in AI in healthcare, with a growing number of supporters.
The second annual MIT-MGB AI Cures Conference, hosted by the Abdul Latif Jameel Clinic for Machine Learning in Health (Jameel Clinic), experienced a significant increase in attendance this year. Over 500 individuals from various fields, including computer science, medicine, pharmaceuticals, and policy, participated in the event.
Speakers at the conference expressed optimism about the role of AI in healthcare. They emphasized two key ideas: AI has the potential to create a more equitable healthcare system, and it won’t replace clinicians entirely, but healthcare professionals who incorporate AI into their practice will replace those who don’t.
MIT Provost Cynthia Barnhart highlighted the importance of collaborations between the government and innovation-driven organizations like the Jameel Clinic. She expressed hope for the future of human health based on the pioneering activities discussed at the conference.
Anne Klibanski, the president and CEO of Massachusetts General Brigham (MGB), echoed this optimism and emphasized the need for collaboration between visionaries in AI and healthcare. Klibanski pointed out the research of Regina Barzilay, AI faculty lead at Jameel Clinic, and Lecia Sequist, Director of the MGB Center for Innovation in Early Cancer Detection, as examples of fruitful collaborations between MIT and MGB.
Massachusetts Secretary of Health and Human Services Kate Walsh acknowledged AI’s potential in improving healthcare but cautioned against expecting it to be a cure-all solution. She emphasized AI’s ability to promote equity in care, especially for individuals with disabilities, and its capacity to support and enhance the existing healthcare workforce.
Barzilay highlighted the underutilization of AI in healthcare, citing the limited number of associated billing codes for AI tools approved by the FDA. She expressed hope that the conference would serve as a platform for bringing together AI developers, clinicians, regulators, and biotech professionals to address this issue and drive meaningful change.
While speakers expressed enthusiasm, they also acknowledged the potential risks associated with AI in healthcare. They emphasized the importance of safety in the development and implementation of clinical AI tools.
Collin Stultz, a principal investigator at the Jameel Clinic and speaker at AI Cures, acknowledged the diverse opinions surrounding AI’s impact in healthcare. He emphasized that the truth lies somewhere between the extreme beliefs that AI will solve all healthcare problems or lead to the downfall of society.
During the conference’s regulatory panel, Assaad Sayah, CEO of Cambridge Health Alliance and the Cambridge Commissioner of Public Health, stressed the need for safeguards and consideration of potential unintended consequences. He highlighted the inequities inherent in certain sub-populations and the challenges of managing vast amounts of data.
In summary, the MIT-MGB AI Cures Conference showcased the potential of AI in healthcare while also addressing the risks and importance of safety. The event brought together experts from various fields to discuss collaboration, equity, and innovation in the pursuit of improved healthcare outcomes.