When could you be sued for AI malpractice? You’re likely using it now


The ways in which artificial intelligence (AI) may transform the future of medicine is making headlines across the globe. But chances are, you’re already using AI in your practice every day – you may just not realize it.

And whether you recognize the presence of AI or not, the technology could be putting you in danger of a lawsuit, legal experts say.

The use of AI in your daily practice can come with hidden liabilities, say legal experts, and as hospitals and medical groups deploy AI into more areas of health care, new liability exposures may be on the horizon.

“For physicians, AI has also not yet drastically changed or improved the way care is provided or consumed,” said Michael LeTang, chief nursing informatics officer and vice president of risk management and patient safety at Healthcare Risk Advisors, part of TDC Group. “Consequently, it may seem like AI is not present in their work streams, but in reality, it has been utilized in health care for several years. As AI technologies continue to develop and become more sophisticated, we can expect them to play an increasingly significant role in health care.”

Today, most AI applications in health care use narrow AI, which is designed to complete a single task without human assistance, as opposed to artificial general intelligence (AGI), which pertains to human-level reasoning and problem solving across a broad spectrum. Here are some ways doctors are using AI throughout the day – sometimes being aware of its assistance, and sometimes being unaware:

  • Many doctors use electronic health records (EHRs) with integrated AI that include computerized clinical decision support tools designed to reduce the risk of diagnostic error and to integrate decision-making in the medication ordering function.
  • Cardiologists, pathologists, and dermatologists use AI in the interpretation of vast amounts of images, tracings, and complex patterns.
  • Surgeons are using AI-enhanced surgical robotics for orthopedic surgeries, such as joint replacement and spine surgery.
  • A growing number of doctors are using ChatGPT to assist in drafting prior authorization letters for insurers. Experts say more doctors are also experimenting with ChatGPT to support medical decision-making.
  • Within oncology, physicians use machine learning techniques in the form of computer-aided detection systems for early breast cancer detection.
  • AI algorithms are often used by health systems for workflow, staffing optimization, population management, and care coordination.
  • Some systems within EHRs use AI to indicate high-risk patients.
  • Physicians are using AI applications for the early recognition of sepsis, including EHR-integrated decision tools, such as the Hospital Corporation of America Healthcare’s Sepsis Prediction and Optimization Therapy and the Sepsis Early Risk Assessment algorithm.
  • About 30% of radiologists use AI in their practice to analyze x-rays and CT scans.
  • Epic Systems recently announced a partnership with Microsoft to integrate ChatGPT into MyChart, Epic’s patient portal system. Pilot hospitals will utilize ChatGPT to automatically generate responses to patient-generated questions sent via the portal.


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