Ethical concerns around use of artificial intelligence in health care research from the perspective of patients with meningioma, caregivers and health care providers: a qualitative study Journal Articles uri icon

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  • BACKGROUND: As artificial intelligence (AI) approaches in research increase and AI becomes more integrated into medicine, there is a need to understand perspectives from members of the Canadian public and medical community. The aim of this project was to investigate current perspectives on ethical issues surrounding AI in health care. METHODS: In this qualitative study, adult patients with meningioma and their caregivers were recruited consecutively (August 2018-February 2019) from a neurosurgical clinic in Toronto. Health care providers caring for these patients were recruited through snowball sampling. Based on a nonsystematic literature search, we constructed 3 vignettes that sought participants' views on hypothetical issues surrounding potential AI applications in health care. The vignettes were presented to participants in interviews, which lasted 15-45 minutes. Responses were transcribed and coded for concepts, frequency of response types and larger concepts emerging from the interview. RESULTS: We interviewed 30 participants: 18 patients, 7 caregivers and 5 health care providers. For each question, a variable number of responses were recorded. The majority of participants endorsed nonconsented use of health data but advocated for disclosure and transparency. Few patients and caregivers felt that allocation of health resources should be done via computerized output, and a majority stated that it was inappropriate to delegate such decisions to a computer. Almost all participants felt that selling health data should be prohibited, and a minority stated that less privacy is acceptable for the goal of improving health. Certain caveats were identified, including the desire for deidentification of data and use within trusted institutions. INTERPRETATION: In this preliminary study, patients and caregivers reported a mixture of hopefulness and concern around the use of AI in health care research, whereas providers were generally more skeptical. These findings provide a point of departure for institutions adopting health AI solutions to consider the ethical implications of this work by understanding stakeholders' perspectives.


  • McCradden, Melissa D
  • Baba, Ami
  • Saha, Ashirbani
  • Ahmad, Sidra
  • Boparai, Kanwar
  • Fadaiefard, Pantea
  • Cusimano, Michael D

publication date

  • 2020