Artificial Intelligence

AI Disparity Detection

Chest X-Ray and AI Pixels

Most studies involving imaging AI and patient race/ethnicity warn that AI might exacerbate healthcare inequalities, but a new JACR study outlines one way that imaging AI could actually improve care for typically underserved patients.

The AI vs. EHR Disparity Problem – The researchers used a deep learning model to detect atherosclerotic disease in CXRs from two cohorts of COVID-positive patients: 814 patients from a suburban ambulatory center (largely White, higher-income) and 485 patients admitted at an inner-city hospital (largely minority, lower-income). 

When they validated the AI predictions versus the patients’ EHR codes they found that:

  • The AI predictions were far more likely to match the suburban patients’ EHR codes than the inner-city patients’ EHR codes (0.85 vs. 0.69 AUCs)
  • AI/EHR discrepancies were far more common among patients who were Black or Hispanic, prefer a non-English language, and live in disadvantaged zip codes

The Imaging AI Solution – This study suggests healthcare systems could use imaging AI-based biomarkers and EHR data to flag patients that might have undiagnosed conditions, allowing them to get these patients into care and identify/address larger systemic barriers. 

The Value-Based Care Justification – In addition to healthcare ethics reasons, the authors noted that imaging/EHR discrepancy detection could become increasingly financially important as we transition to more value-based models. AI/EHR analytics like this could be used to ensure at-risk patients are cared for as early as possible, healthcare disparities are addressed, and value-based metrics are achieved.

The Takeaway – Over the last year we’ve seen population health incidental detection emerge as one of the most exciting imaging AI use cases, while racial/demographic bias emerged as one of imaging AI’s most troubling challenges. This study managed to combine these two topics to potentially create a new way to address barriers to care, while giving health systems another tool to ensure they’re delivering value-based care.

Get every issue of The Imaging Wire, delivered right to your inbox.

You might also like

You might also like..

Select All

You're signed up!

It's great to have you as a reader. Check your inbox for a welcome email.

-- The Imaging Wire team

You're all set!