Artificial intelligence (3) BMJ: Ironing out kinks in the evidence base

11 November, 2023

Discussion about AI, what it means, and its impact on life and death decisions in healthcare may be reaching a crescendo, which is why this extract from the ‘Editor's Choice’ in this weeks BMJ is seminal for health workers and health policy makers, alike:

‘Ironing out kinks in the evidence base’

BMJ 2023; 383 doi: (Published 09 November 2023) Cite this as: BMJ 2023;383:p2613

[ Editor's choice]


‘Peoples [Nicholas Peoples] and colleagues estimate that erroneous citation has been rampant for nearly a century and warn that the emerging powers of artificial intelligence will enable this trend to flourish “with an efficiency and scale not previously possible.” Citations in biomedical literature build an evidence base that helps direct care through, for example, clinical guidelines. But, as the world gets to grips with the AI revolution, how does medicine evaluate new AI tools and ensure that the evidence base they build is of benefit to patients and doctors? Of particular concern is the “black box” nature of the technology, with some AI researchers unsure how it comes to its findings. AI has the potential to help doctors make sense of complex medical data and broaden or refine diagnostic thinking, says Chris Stokel-Walker (10.1136/bmj.p2362 ), but it is important to develop frameworks to check AI’s homework.3 The time to act is clearly now—and the UK is ahead of many, with its careful approach requiring its regulator to approve the use of any system before it can be used to treat patients.’

Ironing out kinks in the evidence base

Pity poor Terry Hamblin. In 1981 in The BMJ the haematologist from Bournemouth set out to debunk claims about th...

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