Racial and other biases in AI algorithms for healthcare can be tackled with public support

The public is asked to help eliminate bias based on race and other disadvantaged groups in artificial intelligence algorithms for healthcare.

Healthcare researchers are calling for support to address that “minorized” groups who are actively disadvantaged by social constructs would not reap future benefits from the use of AI in healthcare. The team, led by the University of Birmingham and University Hospitals Birmingham, is writing naturopathy today to launch a consultation on a set of standards they hope will reduce biases known to exist in AI algorithms.

There is growing evidence that some AI algorithms work less well for certain groups of people — particularly those in racial/ethnic minority groups. Part of this is caused by biases in the datasets used to develop AI algorithms. This means that patients from Black and minority ethnic groups can receive inaccurate predictions, which can lead to misdiagnosis and incorrect treatment.

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STANDING Together is an international collaboration that will develop best practice standards for health datasets used in artificial intelligence to ensure they are diverse and inclusive, leaving no underrepresented or marginalized groups behind. The project is funded by the NHS AI Lab and The Health Foundation, and funding is managed by the National Institute for Health and Care Research, the NHS’ research partner, public health and social care, as part of the NHS AI Lab’s AI Ethics Initiative .

dr Xiaoxuan Liu from the Institute of Inflammation and Aging at the University of Birmingham and co-leader of the STANDING Together project said:

“By providing the right data foundation, STANDING Together ensures that no one is left behind as we seek to unlock the benefits of data-driven technologies like AI. We have made our Delphi study publicly available so we can maximize our reach to communities and individuals. This will help us ensure that STANDING Together’s recommendations truly represent what is important to our diverse community.

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Professor Alastair Denniston, Specialist in Ophthalmology at the University Hospitals of Birmingham and Professor at the Institute of Inflammation and Aging at the University of Birmingham, is co-leading the project. Professor Denniston said:

“As a doctor in the NHS, I welcome the arrival of AI technologies that can help us improve the healthcare we provide – faster and more accurate diagnoses, increasingly personalized treatments and healthcare interfaces that put greater control into the patient’s hands. But we also need to make sure these technologies are inclusive. We need to make sure they work effectively and safely for everyone who needs them.”

This is one of the most rewarding projects I have worked on as it reflects not only my keen interest in using more accurately validated data and my interest in good documentation to support discovery, but also the urgent need to empower minority and underserved groups in involving the research that benefits them. In the latter group, of course, there are women.”

Jacqui Gath, Patient Partner, STANDING Together project

The STANDING Together project is now open for public consultation as part of a Delphi consensus study. Researchers invite the public, medical professionals, researchers, AI developers, data scientists, policymakers, and regulators to help review these standards to ensure they work for you and everyone you work with.