Reporting and implementing interventions involving machine learning and artificial intelligence

David W. Bates, Andrew Auerbach, Peter Schulam, Adam Wright, Suchi Saria

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

13 Scopus citations


Increasingly, interventions aimed at improving care are likely to use such technologies as machine learning and artificial intelligence. However, health care has been relatively late to adopt them. This article provides clinical examples in which machine learning and artificial intelligence are already in use in health care and appear to deliver benefit. Three key bottlenecks toward increasing the pace of diffusion and adoption are methodological issues in evaluation of artificial intelligence-based interventions, reporting standards to enable assessment of model performance, and issues that need to be addressed for an institution to adopt these interventions. Methodological best practices will include external validation, ideally at a different site; use of proactive learning algorithms to correct for site-specific biases and increase robustness as algorithms are deployed across multiple sites; addressing subgroup performance; and communicating to providers the uncertainty of predictions. Regarding reporting, especially important issues are the extent to which implementing standardized approaches for introducing clinical decision support has been followed, describing the data sources, reporting on data assumptions, and addressing biases. Although most health care organizations in the United States have adopted electronic health records, they may be ill prepared to adopt machine learning and artificial intelligence. Several steps can enable this: Preparing data, developing tools to get suggestions to clinicians in useful ways, and getting clinicians engaged in the process. Open challenges and the role of regulation in this area are briefly discussed. Although these techniques have enormous potential to improve care and personalize recommendations for individuals, the hype regarding them is tremendous. Organizations will need to approach this domain carefully with knowledgeable partners to obtain the hoped-for benefits and avoid failures.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)S137-S144
JournalAnnals of internal medicine
Issue number11
StatePublished - Jun 2 2020

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Internal Medicine


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