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Neha Panchal
Neha Panchal Posted on May 28, 2024   |  5 Min Read

From enabling healthcare providers to deliver patient-centric services to shortening drug discovery lifecycle for pharmaceutical firms, artificial intelligence and its other aspects are revolutionizing our approach toward global healthcare, disease, cure, and prevention. The entire life cycle of different clinical development processes generates huge amounts of data. And it is through strategic applications of different AI tools powered by responsible data annotation services, tailored for medical imaging, and abnormality detection, healthcare researchers and physicians are harnessing the potential of this generated data. However, when compared to other fields, there is an inherent ethical imperative that comes with healthcare and is no less than a challenge for any data annotation company: to ensure the developed data sets for AI systems are free from any bias.

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The Biasness Challenge: A Big Hurdle for AI in Healthcare

The root cause of biases in the clinical data is historical health disparities and inequalities in the access of healthcare facilities. For example, if there’s a dataset with an overrepresentation of a specific demographic, any AI model trained based on that dataset will give false or highly inaccurate outcomes for the unrepresented populace. Though a minor glitch in paper, it can have some serious clinical repercussions, including inaccurate treatment recommendations and misdiagnosis for that specific group.

Another issue is the bias creeping in the datasets during data collection. Now, most of the data annotation companies collect and process clinical data from different healthcare institutions and hospitals, which cater to a particular population of patients, leading to unintentional exclusion of other populations. Additionally, there are still several medical conditions that are underdiagnosed in the marginalized communities, resulting in skewed, inaccurate, incomplete clinical data. With these challenges, it is vital for both AI system developing firms, that outsource data annotation services, and data annotation companies to understand and navigated through these biases to ensure the developed AI-powered tools and systems are accurate and ethical to extend equal care to each patient.

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Adopting A Multi-Prong Approach to Mitigate Medical Data Biases

In times when there’s an overload of unstructured data, outsource data annotation services to expert data annotators for organizing and sectioning clinical data is the best pick. But the work isn’t over yet as ethical considerations and data security measures are two areas that need serious thought. For healthcare and clinical data, data annotators must adopt a multi-faceted approach to mitigate any biases in the four key areas namely pharmacovigilance, social listening, patient data security, and medical diagnostics, while following the industry compliance guidelines and maintain the data confidentiality.

1. Collection & Utilization of Diversified Datasets

For any AI-powered healthcare system or tool to be successful in terms of its deployment for masses, it is crucial for the training datasets to be sourced from a diverse array of sources.

  • Patient Safety & Pharmacovigilance: Datasets developed from varied sources help pharma safety teams to monitor and act proactively for any adverse drug side-effects across diversified population, ensuring regulatory compliance during medication safety reporting.
  • Social Monitoring: Collecting data from a wide range of patient demographics helps a more holistic monitoring of patient concerns, sentiment, and feedback across different populaces.
  • Patient Data Protection: Insightful and diverse data helps identification of patient data breaches and other similar challenges during the development phase of medical devices.
  • Improved Diagnostics: Utilizing datasets secured from several demographs helps in designing more inclusive and accurate diagnostic tools, which significantly reduces chances of misdiagnosis in underrepresented population.

2. Employing Transparent Data Collection Measures

Ensure there is complete transparency in data collection process along with clear documentation of the source of data, and how and from whom the data has been collected.

  • Patient Safety & Pharmacovigilance: Maintaining transparency in data collection processes enhances the traceability and accountability in pharmacovigilance initiatives, thus optimizing the capability to immediately detect and pen down any negative outcome
  • Patient Data Protection: Transparency in data collection processes helps in securing intellectual property by offering clear and detailed documentation on sources of data and methodologies adopted to collect that data.
  • Improved Diagnostics: Following transparent data collection processes is vital to validate the accuracy and fairness of various diagnostic tools and get regulatory approvals for the same.

3. Regular Algorithmic Audits

In order to detect and rectify any biases, frequent and detailed audits of datasets by data annotation companies is a must.

  • Pharmacovigilance and Patient Safety: Regular and thorough audits can help detect trends and patterns in harmful events, especially while analyzing a diverse range of patient demographics.
  • Social Listening/Monitoring: Regular audits of algorithms and processes deployed for social listening ensure that data is collected and analyzed efficiently from different data sources and populaces.
  • Patents/IP Protection: End-to-end audits examine data sets for trends which can pinpoint the improper utilization of confidential data, further assisting in detecting any infringements in IP.
  • Diagnostics: Auditing datasets sourced from diagnostic tools regularly helps maintain their capability to generate unbiased and consistent results for patients from diverse demographics, thus improving overall diagnostic accuracy.

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4. Regulatory Compliance

It is paramount for AI tools in healthcare to adhere to industry guidelines and regulatory standards as it ensures that all ethical considerations are addressed systematically.

  • Pharmacovigilance and Patient Safety: Strict adherence to regulatory policies and industry standards during data annotation in pharmacovigilance is vital to ensure complete reporting compliance and patient safety.
  • Social Listening/Monitoring: Enforcing regulatory compliances during social listening strategies ensures patient privacy as these compliances keep a check on strict adherence to data security and privacy.
  • Patents/IP Protection: An industry like health sciences where research, patents, and intellectual property rights play a critical role, following clear IP regulations while processing and annotating data helps protect these rights.
  • Diagnostics: Following regulations optimizes the opportunity for safe and effective utilization of AI diagnostic tools in clinical environments and is essential for securing regulatory endorsement.

5. Continuous Training

Training data annotators and AI training model developers about the criticality of various ethical considerations and the latent repercussions of biasness in clinical data is essential to foster the culture of responsible AI utilization in healthcare and medical sciences.

  • Pharmacovigilance and Patient Safety: Regular training on measures to implement safety regulations while collecting data and remaining informed about their importance is vital in pharmacovigilance.
  • Social Listening/Monitoring: Providing ethical AI and data collecting training ensures that data experts engaged in social listening are well-aware of the potential consequences of biasness in data collection, processing, and annotation.
  • Patents/IP Protection: Holistic training on protection of intellectual property rights is very important for data annotators to navigate through the complicated patent route in medical sciences and healthcare.
  • Diagnostics: Regular training reinforces the criticality of meeting the ethical standards while developing AI-powered diagnostic tools to mitigate any kind of biasness in the results.

Recognizing, understanding, and addressing various biases within AI-driven healthcare systems and tools is vital to ensure equitable and accurate health outcomes for all populaces. As part of an industry-wide initiative, the need of the hour is to prioritize the development of highly transparent, fair, and inclusive AI systems, and the responsibility of laying down an unbiased foundation is on the shoulders of data annotation companies like Damco Solutions that provide highly reliable and accurately analyzed and annotated datasets including patient data and their medical records, research papers, and clinical trials. Enhancing the quality of real-world medical data is smooth when you outsource data annotation to professionals who are thorough, efficient, and precise.

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