Ways to engage patients in AI healthcare application development

October 30, 2023

A new framework suggests ways to meaningfully engage patients when developing Artificial Intelligence (AI) applications in healthcare.

Patients want to get involved in the early stages of identifying problems related to AI in healthcare, according to a study by researchers at Upstream Lab based at MAP Centre for Urban Health Solutions, St. Michael’s Hospital published in BMC Health Services Research. Partnering with them from the start helps to determine specific health needs, tackle patients’ concerns, and improve resource allocation.

The study participants shared considerations for patient engagement. They prefer recruitment through face-to-face interactions or social media, ensuring the process uses inclusive language representative of diverse populations. Patients also prioritized including people usually underrepresented in research, building long-term partnerships, making participation accessible, and involving stakeholders from different disciplines.

Equally important is educating patients about AI. The researchers created a plain language education module before inviting participants to the focus group discussions. Since AI is a rapidly evolving and complex topic, providing adequate information and ongoing support are instrumental to successful patient engagement.

Patient engagement is one of the ways to prevent the negative implications of AI in healthcare. However, at present, patients are rarely involved in developing AI applications for care delivery. To address the gap, the authors developed a framework and recommendations on patient engagement within AI application development in healthcare.

The researchers hope this study helps start a dialogue on effective, representative and inclusive patient engagement practices within AI in health care.



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