Edward Lee, MD, shares strategies for augmented intelligence in health care


Asking the right questions is fundamental to the development of “augmented intelligence,” or AI, in health care, according to Edward Lee, MD, executive vice president for information technology and chief information officer at The Permanente Federation.

Headshot of Edward Lee, MD
Edward Lee, MD

During a recent virtual meeting of the American Medical Association Insight Network, Dr. Lee was asked what’s the problem that health care organizations are trying to solve when getting an AI program up and running. “That’s the first question we need to ask and answer before you embark on any program.”

Other must-ask questions, he said, include “Will this help us to take better care of our patients?” “Does it make it easier for physicians to provide care?” and “Could it lead to better outcomes?”

AI can enhance, assist, and complement human intelligence, but it is not meant to replace human intelligence, said Dr. Lee, who is also an associate executive director of The Permanente Medical Group. He outlined 3 main “buckets of opportunity” for health care AI: computer vision, predictive analytics, and natural language processing.

An AI system must have a diverse and robust team that is processing a diverse and robust stream of data, he said, which is representative of the patient population it serves.

“You want a diverse group of people with diversity of thought, because if you do things in a very narrow or potential tunnel vision way, the risk of bias can be introduced much more,” Dr. Lee said. “If you don’t look for bias, you’ll never find it.”

Note: For the full story on the AMA Insight Network meeting, visit the AMA website.