Subcommittee Chair Guthrie Opening Remarks on the Potential for AI in the Health Care System
Washington D.C. — House Energy and Commerce Health Subcommittee Chair Brett Guthrie (R-KY) delivered the following opening remarks at today’s Health Subcommittee hearing titled “Understanding How AI is Changing Health Care.”
“I would like to thank our witnesses for being here today. This hearing could not be timelier, as our Committee and the Congress as a whole look at issues regarding artificial intelligence, it’s important that we shine a light specifically on the role that AI could play in solving some of our most significant health care problems.
“These emerging technologies are already changing the way in which clinicians care for their patients and how researchers conduct clinical trials.
“As AI continues to drive innovation in health care, it is essential that Congress examine the meaningful benefits and any potential unintended consequences that these technologies could have.
“The potential benefits from artificial intelligence are seemingly without limit. Future technologies could help our health care system save lives by better predicting potential diagnoses and could help us reduce redundancies in our system.
“We have already seen this play out in real time over the past several years and have watched unimaginable advances in health care as a result of generative AI.”
REAL WORLD AI SUCCESS IN HEALTH CARE
“For example, there are already numerous success stories in using AI for pharmaceutical research and development to get treatments to market sooner. This was the case in the AI-assisted research by MIT scientists that found that the drug Halicin could be used as an effective antibiotic.
“We now have multicancer screening diagnostic tools that use AI to help detect early-stage cancers, and AI is even being used in operating rooms to augment existing processes to improve patient outcomes.
“However, this is not to say that we should let the use of these technologies go without guardrails.
“Over the next several months and years policymakers and those in the health industry will need to answer some fundamental questions regarding the role AI will play in our health care system, including:
“Are the technologies trained with supervised AI using human-generated inputs to drive outcomes?
“Are these technologies trained with unsupervised AI that’s generating outcomes based off human behavior to ease everyday decision-making for health care consumers?
“Or are these technologies trained with reinforced AI in which humans are rewarding the systems for the outputs generated?
“Those are very complex and difficult things we need to explore as we move forward.
“In each of these use cases, it is important to remember that every decision comes with a cost—both human and financial. Wearable devices that are constantly monitoring someone’s heart rate, calorie intake and out-take, and sleep patterns in addition to other metrics that can help lead to healthier lifestyles, and in some cases, to predicting extreme cardiac events or even strokes.”
ENSURING APPROPRIATE GUARDRAILS TO DEPLOY AI SAFETY AND EFFECTIVELY
“In the event of using user data to predict better lifestyle habits, how are we ensuring this user data is secure and ensuring that consumers have full control over this information and not being used or sold without their consent?
“In the event of predicting a major health event, are there protocols that should be considered to ensure individuals aren’t taking unnecessary trips to the Emergency Room and potentially incurring significant health care debt as a result?
“In closing, I support the real possibilities AI can bring to our health care system, and most importantly, to patients.
“We should give the technology the license to coexist alongside clinicians, patients, and innovators as well as regulators while also remaining vigilant of how this technology is being used.
“I look forward to the discussion today.”