Schmidt, Sethi & Akmajian Blog


Posted by Peter Akmajian | Apr 01, 2024 | 0 Comments

Artificial intelligence now influences many professions, from education, financial analysis and increasingly in healthcare.  How might concerns about medical malpractice liability impact the use of AI in medicine?  This was the topic of a recent study by Jons Hopkins University.

This study first examined how doctors now use AI, and surprisingly it found that doctors use AI in “low uncertainty” situations—in other words, where the doctors are pretty sure they already know the answer.

According to the study, doctors may shy away from AI in more difficult cases for fear of liability if they go against the AI recommendations. 

Doctors may be overthinking it.  Healthcare providers have the obligation to meet the standard of care.  The standard of care is ever evolving.  As AI becomes better, the standard of care will surely require the use of AI to solve complex problems.  Choosing to ignore a valuable and accurate tool could be a violation of the standard of care.

But who pays if AI makes a mistake?  An article in Politico recently discussed this issue.  Who pays when AI steers your doctor wrong? - POLITICO

Some in Congress want to give doctors legal immunity or a “safe harbor” when using AI, if doctors join a surveillance program to track patient outcomes.

The core issue is whether the doctor or AI is making the final healthcare decision.  Many doctors see AI as a tool to augment the doctor's knowledge, not as a replacement.  One would hope this is the rule, not the exception.

Further, patients must have the right to know if their healthcare is being directed by their doctor or by a computer program.

In the end, the standard of good medical care must prevail.  Doctors cannot simply use AI and evade responsibility.  They must use all the tools at their disposal to give their patients the best possible care in compliance with their professional duties.




About the Author

Peter Akmajian

Peter Akmajian is a trial lawyer with 30+ years of experience and 40 jury trials in Tucson, Phoenix, Yuma, Bisbee and Nogales under his belt.  These trials have mainly involved serious personal injury, medical malpractice and wrongful death.  He was a civil defense lawyer for many years before ma...


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