Emerging Technologies

Biden’s Executive Order Prompts HHS to Create Artificial Intelligence Task Force

teenagers talking to politicians in capitol building

President Joe Biden released an executive order on Oct. 30 initiating the creation of a regulatory framework for artificial intelligence and machine learning in the United States.

The executive order established overarching principles for U.S. federal agency governance of artificial intelligence and machine learning development and implementation.

Of critical importance to HIMSS and its members, the executive order directed the United States Department of Health and Human Services to launch an Artificial Intelligence Task Force.

This task force will develop a strategic plan that will include regulatory frameworks and initial policy guidance to drive the responsible deployment and use of artificial intelligence and AI-enabled technologies in the health and human services sectors — including research and discovery, diagnostics, drug and device safety, healthcare delivery and financing and public health.

The executive order established aspirational goals for the prospective regulatory framework, indicating that the framework will:

  • Protect privacy and security of information with privacy-enhancing technology and secure software development
  • Create guidance and benchmarks for evaluating and auditing AI capabilities, including in regard to cybersecurity and biosecurity
  • Enhance administrative expertise in AI
  • Bolster defense and national security
  • Advance equity while eliminating bias
  • Mitigate AI-related intellectual property risk
  • Support an AI-ready workforce, including public and private sector

In addition, the Department of Commerce is expected to develop guidance to ensure generative AI is authenticated and watermarked to protect intellectual property and ensure the AI has been validated by appropriate pre-market approval mechanisms.

To ensure the safety of AI applications, the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) was called to establish appropriate AI safeguards including appropriate procedures and processes to enable developers of AI, especially of dual-use foundation models, to enable deployment of safe, secure and trustworthy systems.

Lee Kim, HIMSS senior principal of cybersecurity and privacy, said in an interview for Healthcare Info Security that AI is the brave new frontier and must be taken extremely seriously.

"This signals both significant risk and opportunity for artificial intelligence, its procurement, development and deployment. It can be a win for both society and healthcare. Our patients' lives depend upon us getting it right. No one deserves any less."

HIMSS is looking forward to furthering its analysis on this executive order and its broader impact digital health transformation within the United States and beyond.

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