The White House
The White House released an executive order on AI Monday morning. (Credit: Caroline Purser / Getty Images)

Confirming recent speculation, the Biden administration has issued an executive order creating new standards and guidelines for artificial intelligence.

The decision, which was announced Monday morning, is broad but extensive, addressing several concerns relevant to long-term care and healthcare in general, including privacy and data accuracy. 

In enacting broad safeguards, the decision could help build trust in the technology and spur innovation within the healthcare space, industry leaders told the McKnight’s Tech Daily on Monday.

“Some of these things proposed are no-brainers,” Majd Alwan, PhD, chief strategy and growth officer of ThriveWell Tech, told McKnight’s. “I look forward to seeing how these initiatives unfold and to seeing the power of AI being harnessed appropriately for the benefits of mankind, especially older adults that we serve.”

Alwan noted that some of the initiatives would be easier to implement than others.

The “clear guidelines” in the executive order will help “ensure the long-term success of AI innovation,” said Mark Bochkis, director of content for the healthcare software developer Empeon, adding that AI can be a “game changer in home health and long-term care” as long as it is not misusing residents’ and patients’ data.

Stipulations of the executive order:

  • Americans’ privacy will be protected by prioritizing federal support for accelerating the development and use of privacy-preserving techniques.
  • How agencies collect and use commercially available information, including information they procure from data brokers, will be evaluated.
  • The responsible use of AI in healthcare and the development of affordable and life-saving drugs will be advanced.
  • Clear guidance will be provided to federal benefits programs and federal contractors to keep AI algorithms from being used to exacerbate discrimination.

“The actions that President Biden directed today are vital steps forward in the US’ approach on safe, secure and trustworthy AI,” White House officials said in a statement.

Monday’s action was widely expected following reports late last week. 

The executive order follows comments by Biden on AI’s role in healthcare over the past several months, both touting its potential and cautioning about responsible development. 

Ensuring the creation of “ethical” AI systems is something many software developers themselves are focused on, said Praveen Soti, CEO of data management company HealthEM.AI.

“The actions recommended under President Biden’s executive order are vital to ensure we are developing a robust AI governance that enables safe, secure and explainable AI,” Soti told the McKnight’s Tech Daily. “The emphasis on explainability and real-time processing bolsters the trust and effectiveness of AI in healthcare.”

The last year has seen a major outpouring of new AI innovations, spurred by the public release of ChatGPT.

Although healthcare breakthroughs have been touted, including earlier diagnostic screeners and improved falls detection capabilities, experts have raised concerns ranging from privacy issues, to inaccurate results, to possible bias against minorities.

For healthcare facility operators, many AI tools have been geared toward simplifying administrative tasks. Many AI developers have insisted that tools used for such purposes, such as scheduling or note-taking, improve the roles of caregivers rather than replace them.

“We believe incorporating responsible AI ensures fair and unbiased use of technology,” Soti said. “By adhering to these technology considerations, we can develop a healthcare ecosystem that maximizes AI’s benefits.”