CMS to hold AI, quality measures competition

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The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services and the Center for Medicare and Medicaid Innovation plan to conduct a challenge in the area of artificial intelligence.

Adam Boehler, CMS deputy administrator and director of CMMI, made the announcement during a panel session on Wednesday at the HIMSS19 conference in Orlando.

According to Johnathan Monroe, a CMS spokesman, the agency will be running the challenge in partnership with the American Academy of Family Physicians.

“CMS now has 400 some odd measures for quality—we’ve taken it down from some 600, but I don’t know how well they actually measure quality,” said Boehler. “And, so, the challenge is going to be using derived measures from claims and EHRs to leverage advanced analytics and leverage AI to predict quality prospectively in a much more predictable way.”

He added that “our only other main requirement is that it can’t be a black box—we need to understand it and see it so that physicians can look at it and learn from it.”

Boehler did not provide any details as to when the AI challenge will be introduced. However, he said “we’re thinking a lot about it, so hopefully that means soon.”

Ultimately, CMS wants to achieve better and more predictive quality that results in physicians having more face-to-face time with their patients.

“AI and technology when it is used well does not de-humanize—it’s quite the opposite,” Boehler asserted. “It lets you focus on the portion of healthcare that is human.”

In related news, President Trump on Monday issued an executive order to maintain America’s global leadership in AI.

“Heads of implementing agencies that also perform or fund R&D (AI R&D agencies), shall consider AI as an agency R&D priority,” states the executive order. “Heads of such agencies shall take this priority into account when developing budget proposals and planning for the use of funds in Fiscal Year 2020 and in future years. Heads of these agencies shall also consider appropriate administrative actions to increase focus on AI for 2019.”

The executive order also calls on “the Secretaries of Defense, Commerce, Health and Human Services, and Energy, the Administrator of the National Aeronautics and Space Administration, and the Director of the National Science Foundation shall, to the extent appropriate and consistent with applicable law, prioritize the allocation of high-performance computing resources for AI-related applications.”

“We’re going to do a lot in the area—in particular, in advanced analytics and artificial intelligence,” commented Boehler.

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