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Building public trust to successfully deploy AI in EU healthcare

Danielle Brady

Date: 26/01/2022
COVID-19 has underscored the importance of digital health: the digitalisation of healthcare would improve health systems’ resilience and service delivery, empower citizens, and bolster research and innovation. However, despite the many benefits of introducing technologies like artificial intelligence (AI) into the European healthcare sector, it also raises questions on its impact on the healthcare workers, the potential for new inequalities, privacy issues and public trust. Not to mention, broader questions on the ethics and social implications of AI.

The EU’s Proposal for a Regulation Laying Down Harmonised Rules on Artificial Intelligence and the European Health Data Space address many of these concerns, but cannot combat them all alone. Without public trust, acceptance and understanding, AI’s full potential in healthcare will not be realised. Attention must be given to the communication of the benefits of AI in healthcare to the public, Europeans’ digital literacy, the upskilling of the EU health workforce, and the investment in AI technologies. Clear and convincing explanations regarding AI use in healthcare are required so that citizens understand their benefit and trust that their personal data will be handled safely. If the EU and its member states fail to build trust in the deployment of AI in healthcare, Europe will miss a chance to reap all the benefits that AI offers to its citizens and their health.

Read the full paper here.
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