As in most industries in Delaware and throughout the country, advanced technology is no longer something expected in the future. It comes in many forms and one can use it in all facets of business, including the medical industry. Artificial intelligence (AI) is becoming an integral component of many healthcare systems. A popular school of thought today is that using AI in the medical industry will reduce the number of medical malpractice incidents that occur throughout the year.
Data shows, however, that this might not be the case for several reasons. Medical malpractice is a deviation from the accepted standard of care, which causes injury to a patient. AI is a system that can sense and react or provide information or recommendations based on a collection of data. If an AI product is defective, resulting in the human error of a physician, who is liable if the patient suffers an injury?
Doctors must always act in accordance with industry standards
In addition to AI, the medical industry also uses machine learning (ML) devices, which is a type of AI that functions on algorithms. ML becomes more accurate over time as it is exposed to more data. A physician must always act in adherence to state laws and accepted standards, even if it means not following an AI-generated recommendation. A physician may be liable for damages any time he or she fails to fulfill a duty of care, resulting in injury or illness to a patient.
If something goes wrong with an AI or ML device, it does not necessarily mean that a physician or other medical team member is liable for damages. In such cases, however, product liability may exist, which means one can sue a manufacturer or other entity within the chain of distribution for damages. If a physician fails to critically evaluate an AI recommendation, he or she may be liable if the patient suffers injury.
A patient has protection regardless of technology
Whether the use of AI and ML in the medical industry will reduce medical malpractice incidents remains to be seen. Every patient has a right to quality care and can seek financial recovery if losses occur due to negligence. As we see the incorporation of more and more computer-generated systems into the industry, determining who is liable for damages can be challenging, especially for someone who does not have a background in personal injury litigation, which is why it is always best to seek guidance when questions arise regarding such matters.