30 Jan 2023

FCI responds to government consultation on regulating AI in the UK

The Department for Culture, Media and Sport have welcomed feedback on their recent consultation into AI technology

The Faulty of Clinical Informatics has responded to a consultation from the Department for Culture, Media and Sport (DMCS) about regulating AI in the UK.

The FCI welcomed the government's long-term interest in and commitment to AI in medicine. 

The FCI is committed to advocating for a safe, cautious approach toward the regulation and introduction of AI into healthcare. The benefits of AI in healthcare are threefold: 

  1. To improve clinical decision accuracy

  2. To help patients and the public to measure and reduce their health-related risks

  3. To streamline health and care services 

As the NHS faces extreme pressures, AI has the further potential to ease pressure on overloaded services. 

In order to ensure AI is incorporated into healthcare in a safe and efficient way, the FCI recommended that the government take a cautious, stepwise approach to developing, evaluating and implementing clinical AI.  

These steps include:

  • seeking clarity about the problem that the AI is supposed to support. Given the very different languages of clinicians and AI experts, a checklist is a helpful tool to support this shared understanding of the need and opportunities. This will ensure that, for example, the data used to develop and test the model is the data that would normally be available at the time the algorithm will be used [Narla 2018]

  • a commitment to reducing biases by using representative datasets, and then measuring the extent of residual bias [Knight et al, BMJ 2020]

  • evaluation of both the accuracy (discrimination) and the calibration (accuracy of any probability estimates produced by the algorithm) of the AI

  • evaluating the impact of the algorithm output on human decisions, and optimisation of the output to reduce automation bias (this is the tendency of humans to believe and act on computer advice, even when it is wrong [Goddard K, JAMIA 2012]

  • evaluating the impact of the algorithm output on human actions and resource utilisation, as well as on patient outcomes where appropriate, using randomised studies.

The Faculty of Clinical Informatics is the UK professional membership body of clinicians working in digital health. Many of our members are working with artificial intelligence, either using it, implementing AI solutions or doing research or education in the field of AI. Thank you to Professor Jeremy Wyatt, Founding Fellow of the FCI, for his time and input during the consultation.