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Title    This AI-Powered “Black Box” Could Make Surgery Safer
Date    Sunday June 09, @02:30AM
Author    martyb
from the dept.

Editors note: This article has been been *greatly* shortened; it is well worth reading the whole article. --Bytram


upstart writes:

This AI-powered "black box" could make surgery safer:

While most algorithms operate near perfectly on their own, Peter Grantcharov explains that the OR black box is still not fully autonomous. For example, it's difficult to capture audio through ceiling mikes and thus get a reliable transcript to document whether every element of the surgical safety checklist was completed; he estimates that this algorithm has a 15% error rate. So before the output from each procedure is finalized, one of the Toronto analysts manually verifies adherence to the questionnaire. "It will require a human in the loop," Peter Grantcharov says, but he gauges that the AI model has made the process of confirming checklist compliance 80% to 90% more efficient. He also emphasizes that the models are constantly being improved.

In all, the OR black box can cost about $100,000 to install, and analytics expenses run $25,000 annually, according to Janet Donovan, an OR nurse who shared with MIT Technology Review an estimate given to staff at Brigham and Women's Faulkner Hospital in Massachusetts. (Peter Grantcharov declined to comment on these numbers, writing in an email: "We don't share specific pricing; however, we can say that it's based on the product mix and the total number of rooms, with inherent volume-based discounting built into our pricing models.")

[...] At some level, the identity protections are only half measures. Before 30-day-old recordings are automatically deleted, Grantcharov acknowledges, hospital administrators can still see the OR number, the time of operation, and the patient's medical record number, so even if OR personnel are technically de-identified, they aren't truly anonymous. The result is a sense that "Big Brother is watching," says Christopher Mantyh, vice chair of clinical operations at Duke University Hospital, which has black boxes in seven ORs. He will draw on aggregate data to talk generally about quality improvement at departmental meetings, but when specific issues arise, like breaks in sterility or a cluster of infections, he will look to the recordings and "go to the surgeons directly."

In many ways, that's what worries Donovan, the Faulkner Hospital nurse. She's not convinced the hospital will protect staff members' identities and is worried that these recordings will be used against them—whether through internal disciplinary actions or in a patient's malpractice suit. In February 2023, she and almost 60 others sent a letter to the hospital's chief of surgery objecting to the black box. She's since filed a grievance with the state, with arbitration proceedings scheduled for October.

If you were having an operation, how much of the operation would you want an AI to do?

Original Submission


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