Two years ago, the use of AI in pharma and healthcare seemed to be rapidly approaching the Plateau of Productivity, as described by Gartner’s Hype Cycle model. Artificial intelligence is now enjoying a fruitful period in our industry, thanks to the COVID-powered digital revolutions of both pharma and healthcare. It might also be, as consultants GlobalData forecast in January, the most transformative invention in the pharmaceutical industry this year, but there is still a lot of work to be done on its legal consequences if this pledge is to be realized.
A wearable display, two medical warnings for collapsing lungs, and cardiac ultrasound apps have all been approved by the FDA since 2019.
And just last week, the FDA approved the first AI system to aid in the detection of colorectal lesions during the millions of colonoscopies performed in the United States each year.
Cosmo Pharma’s GI Genius bundles hardware and software that overlays photographs from an endoscope camera with green marker squares – followed by a warning tone when the AI senses a potentially suspicious region of the rectum or colon.
NHS use expected to grow
In the UK, where the NHS research arm NHSX attracts an annual budget of more than £1 billion to lead digital development in health and social care, there are similar high-level steps toward the adoption of artificial intelligence through the health sector.
The new NHS AI Lab, which is housed within NHSX, will open in 2020 following trials that expanded on the work of the NHS’ Digital Pathology and Imaging Artificial Intelligence Centres of Excellence.
It also points to healthcare as one of the core fields where artificial intelligence can help businesses compete and enhance social and environmental performance by “improving estimation, optimizing processes and resource distribution, and personalizing digital technologies accessible to individuals and organizations.”
For the time being, the EC’s recommendations are likely to pose as many questions as they address. However, since AI’s realistic applications of health care are unavoidable, the technology’s legal consequences for all stakeholders must be discussed.