Artificial Intelligence, or AI, has been a great help in many aspects of our society. Various industries have used it for efficiency.

Healthcare providers are no exception when using AI in many different ways. They utilize AI to gather data and provide medical care to people needing their services.

On the other hand, there are questions regarding the ethical implications of storing healthcare data and its security. Some people feel that it violates their privacy, as the system gathers and keeps personal information, which can be used for other purposes.

Insurance agencies, pharmaceutical companies, and healthcare providers don’t just keep typical consumer data. It includes personal and medical information, such as symptoms, medical conditions, and treatments.

This article will explain how AI systems are used in the healthcare industry and why healthcare providers need an AI ethics policy.

The AI Systems in Healthcare

We have been using AI to help us cope with our healthcare systems. It tracks our health status.

When we think about AI, we tend to think they are just computers with no emotions. However, since we have continuously developed AI, the system can think and make decisions similar to humans. This is called Explainable AI.

There are four industries Explainable AI tools are used, one of which is healthcare. This lessens the possibility of human errors and makes the services much faster.

Despite the positive things it offers society, there are scenarios where AI in healthcare can be crucial.

Social Media Platforms Use AI to Store and Act on User’s Mental Health Data

Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act  (HIPAA) protects a person’s information if it is from health-related organizations, such as hospitals and other medical service providers. They don’t cover large tech companies, such as social media sites.

In late 2017, Facebook introduced its suicide awareness campaign. It is an AI system that gathers the data from the user’s posts and predicts the possibility of committing suicide. The suicide algorithm is outside HIPAA’s jurisdiction.

Although the intentions are good, the data gathered are being used without the user’s consent.

Facebook and other social networking sites can use the health care data they gather to sell to advertising or pharmaceutical companies. They would be able to reach their target market through social media using the data they bought.

Genetics testing companies can sell consumer data to pharmaceutical firms

Genetic testing companies have been using AI to make their services more efficient.

They are not legally considered healthcare services, which means HIPAA rules don’t apply. This means they are free to analyze DNA and give you information about your health.

If you have gone to a genetic testing company to analyze your DNA and check whether you’re healthy, they will give you a waiver. In most cases, they clearly state that they can hold onto the genetic data for up to 10 years.

After analyzing your DNA, they can legally sell the genetic data they gathered to pharmaceutical and biotech firms. This helps the firms to develop drugs or medicines that are more robust and effective when it comes to treating certain diseases, including therapy.

They will be able to identify potential viruses before it even occurs and become a global crisis.

Insurance companies could use genetic data

Genetic testing companies don’t just identify your ancestral roots; they can also get valuable information regarding your health risks.

It’s great to alert someone whether they have the potential to have diseases. Some ailments can be inherited from your ancestors. If you can identify them before they affect your body, you’ll be able to live a healthier life.

A perfect example is newborn screening. The program identifies whether the babies have medical conditions, such as disorders, right after birth. Certain ailments are treatable, allowing them to live a healthier life ahead.

Insurance companies will use your genetic data to create marketing campaigns encouraging you to sign up for their specific insurance coverage programs. This will allow them to control the pricing based on your needs.

The Ethical Challenges of AI in Healthcare

As seen from the situations above, privacy is the primary concern regarding AI ethics policy. Aside from privacy, there are other ethical challenges AI has.


Companies that gather consumer genetic data and other medical information have challenges regarding transparency. They don’t usually show other purposes of the data.

If they analyze your DNA, they will provide you with the results you need. However, what happens to the data is unknown to the consumer. They have contracts and waivers, but they mostly have general information.

Diversity, fairness, and non-discriminatory

All people have the right to medical care. However, there are times when the medical data of the consumer becomes a tool for discrimination.

For example, if you’ve discovered that you have a non-transmissible disease, people can use it to discriminate against you, despite the ailment being non-contagious. Thankfully, there are laws made to protect society from it.

However, it’s still a challenge as there are still others who could get away from it.


AI helps the healthcare industry in many ways. However, there are still problems concerning safety, especially when it comes to treating people with AI-based decisions.

One of the main challenges in the medical field is whether the AI-based procedure is safer for the patient. Unfortunately, algorithms are not perfect. They can have errors in specific areas, causing fatalities in some situations, especially during a medical process.


Healthcare providers will continue to use AI systems because they benefit society, such as efficiency, and can avoid human errors during surgery. It will indeed co-exist with our current healthcare system.

The data is also used to create better medical solutions, both medicines and treatment procedures.

Since AI continuously evolves, developers will improve algorithms to ensure the reliability and safety of data. The privacy and security issues are becoming more strict and robust as systems upgrade daily. This will prevent misuse of the gathered data.

AI in healthcare still has challenges ethically, so we need the AI ethics policy for safety.