5 Ensure inclusiveness and equity
Inclusiveness requires that AI used in health care is designed to encourage the widest possible appropriate, equitable use and access, irrespective of age, gender, income, ability or other characteristics. Institutions (e.g. companies, regulatory agencies, health systems) should hire employees from diverse backgrounds, cultures and disciplines to develop, monitor and deploy AI. AI technologies should be designed by and evaluated with the active participation of those who are required to use the system or will be affected by it, including providers and patients, and such participants should be sufficiently diverse. Participation can also be improved by adopting open source software or making source codes publicly available.
AI technology – like any other technology – should be shared as widely as possible. AI technologies should be available not only in HIC and for use in contexts and for needs that apply to high income settings but they should also be adaptable to the types of devices, telecommunications infrastructure and data transfer capacity in LMIC. AI developers and vendors should also consider the diversity of languages, ability and forms of communication around the world to avoid barriers to use. Industry and governments should strive to ensure that the “digital divide” within and between countries is not widened and ensure equitable access to novel AI technologies. AI technologies should not be biased. Bias is a threat to inclusiveness and equity because it represents a departure, often arbitrary, from equal treatment. For example, a system designed to diagnose cancerous skin lesions that is trained with data on one skin colour may not generate accurate results for patients with a different skin colour, increasing the risk to their health.
Unintended biases that may emerge with AI should be avoided or identified and mitigated. AI developers should be aware of the possible biases in their design, implementation and use and the potential harm that biases can cause to individuals and society. These parties also have a duty to address potential bias and avoid introducing or exacerbating health care disparities, including when testing or deploying new AI technologies in vulnerable populations.
AI developers should ensure that AI data, and especially training data, do not include sampling bias and are therefore accurate, complete and diverse. If a particular racial or ethnic minority (or other group) is underrepresented in a dataset, oversampling of that group relative to its population size may be necessary to ensure that an AI technology achieves the same quality of results in that population as in better represented groups.
AI technologies should minimize inevitable power disparities between providers and patients or between companies that create and deploy AI technologies and those that use or rely on them. Public sector agencies should have control over the data collectedby private health care providers, and their shared responsibilities should be defined and respected. Everyone – patients, health care providers and health care systems – should be able to benefit from an AI technology and not just the technology providers. AI technologies should be accompanied by means to provide patients with knowledge and skills to better understand their health status and to communicate effectively with health care providers. Future health literacy should include an element of information technology literacy.
The effects of use of AI technologies must be monitored and evaluated, including disproportionate effects on specific groups of people when they mirror or exacerbate existing forms of bias and discrimination. Special provision should be made to protect the rights and welfare of vulnerable persons, with mechanisms for redress if such bias and discrimination emerges or is alleged.
Published by World Health Organization (WHO) in Key ethical principles for use of artificial intelligence for health, Jun 28, 2021