VA Introduces AI Use to Improve Care, Benefits

VA Introduces AI Use to Improve Care, Benefits

A new artificial intelligence strategy for the delivery of health care and benefits was launched by the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) in late September. This strategy is planned to serve as a set of ethical guidelines for the use of this technology across the VA.

In order to achieve the goals, VA focused on four major objectives: "to improve veterans' outcomes and experiences through existing AI technology, to increase VA AI capabilities, to increase veteran trust in the use of AI, and to expand VA's collaboration with other government agencies and the private sector."

Using new computer vision technology, one innovative approach to meeting these objectives could help improve patient outcomes by allowing practitioners to catch certain diseases earlier than they would otherwise be able to. Further, by leveraging AI to broaden the VA's partnerships with other organizations, it is possible for the VA to make a greater contribution to medical research studies and journals.

The strategy could lead to AI involvement in the process of applying for benefits, scheduling appointments, and providing the care and treatment itself. The VA is particularly suited to leverage artificial intelligence in comparison with other federal agencies for two reasons, according to the official strategy.

One of the reasons the VA has such a comprehensive collection of administrative, financial, and medical databases is because the VA has one of the most comprehensive collections in the world. In addition, the decentralized network of local VA facilities facilitates connections between users and researchers, academic institutions and private sector counterparts.

The department was aware of veterans' concerns regarding the trustworthiness of new technology to protect personal information, it stated in its press release. However, artificial intelligence is more efficient than traditional analytics and clinical decision-making techniques.

Gil Alterovitz, head of VA's National Artificial Intelligence Institute, says the VA will train its leaders, practitioners and relevant end-users on AI ethics, legality, and compliance with standards.

The infrastructure component will be upgraded for VA's AI strategy to support its products, such as the National Artificial Intelligence Initiative Act of 2020 and the National Artificial Intelligence Research and Development Strategic Plan.