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Although senior living and care already is a highly regulated industry, adoption of artificial intelligence tools has created new considerations that providers should be aware of, legal experts warn.

AI’s potential to provide inaccurate information could lead to errors in health assessments or medication management, but senior living operators are appropriately cautious in that regard, says attorney Jo-Ann Marchica, a partner at ArentFox Schiff who specializes in senior living and skilled nursing.

The more immediate legal concerns AI generates for the space are based around privacy and copyright protections for material AI generates, she told the McKnight’s Tech Daily

Marchica co-authored a recently released legal guide, produced by AFS, which details how AI is affecting various industries, including senior living and skilled nursing, and how businesses should approach these tools. 

The lack of copyright protections around material produced by AI means that although the speed with which it creates material or addresses queries is impressive, any policy or resident/patient agreements AI helps produce need to be adjusted or re-written by an actual provider for proprietary purposes, Marchica emphasized.

As far as how AI is used in monitoring technology such as sensors within residents’ and patients’ rooms, Marchica says that providers should consider updating their privacy policies and informed consent agreements. 

The rapid introduction of AI into tools based related to falls prevention or security is similar to how many communities and facilities first began using camera systems for senior living and care a decade ago, Marchica said.

Although Marchica expected new AI regulation to come slowly from both state and federal governments, there is already a reasonable level of awareness about AI’s legal risks among long-term care operators, Marchica said.

“Most of the folks I work with are pretty sophisticated, pretty conservative,” Marchica said of such clients. “They want to do things correctly, so they will be cautious, but that will not prevent them from investing in AI in the future.”

Overall, the legal risks around AI may mean it will be used as a supplemental tool to do work clinicians and other healthcare professionals already do rather than replace roles outright. 

“I think operators will want to keep the human factors,” Marchica said. “To have a tool that can generate a policy or procedure in response to something in seconds is amazing. But it also has to be customized and thoughtfully adapted to an operator’s operation.”