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The implementation of artificial intelligence (AI) systems is critical to the success of modern businesses and the United States government. The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) recently announced the development of an AI office and website to both employ and explain the use of AI in this critical department.
According to the website, “AI and machine learning are critical to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) in accomplishing our mission to enhance the health and well-being of all Americans.”
Given the immense potential for AI to improve health and human services, the HHS established an AI office, appointing its first Chief AI Officer Oki Mek in March 2021.
The HHS Office of the chief artificial intelligence officer (OCAIO) aims to facilitate effective collaboration on AI efforts across HHS agencies and offices.
The office will drive implementation of HHS AI strategy, stand up the HHS AI governance structure, coordinate the HHS response to AI-related federal mandates, and foster collaboration across HHS agencies and offices.
HHS uses artificial intelligence to enable computer systems to perform tasks that normally require human intelligence. They use machine learning to provide computers the ability to learn without human programming. These technologies are leveraged by HHS with its partners in academia, industry, and government to solve previously unsolvable problems.
A statement by HHS said, “As we use AI to advance the health and wellbeing of the American people, we must ensure that our solutions are ethical, effective, and secure.”
To safeguard this, HHS published both an AI strategy and The HHS Trustworthy AI (TAI) Playbook.
The HHS AI Strategy sets the approach and focus areas intended to encourage AI adoption; enable HHS-wide familiarity, comfort, and fluency with AI technology and its potential; promote AI scaling with the application of best practices and lessons learned from piloting and implementing AI capabilities to additional domains and use cases across HHS; and spark AI acceleration by increasing the speed at which HHS adopts and scales AI and ML.
The HHS Trustworthy AI Playbook is an initial document by the OCAIO to support the trustworthy development and implementation of AI across HHS.
Moving forward, the OCAIO is prioritizing a variety of AI initiatives, including:
- Cultivate AI fluency, skillsets, and awareness through the AI Community of Practice (CoP). The CoP will continue to provide a medium for AI practitioners from across HHS to connect with peers and identify opportunities for collaboration, shared AI solutions, and resource scaling.
- Communicate emerging AI innovations across the health industry by hosting AI Lunch & Learn sessions for HHS staff.
- Provide and expand AI guidance and governance by standing up the AI Council to provide strategic oversight around AI as its use is accelerated throughout HHS. The AI Council will support AI strategy execution and develop strategic AI priorities and guidance across HHS agencies and offices as trustworthy AI solutions are deployed.
- Promote ethical, trustworthy AI use and development by expanding the HHS Trustworthy AI Playbook.
- Encourage health AI innovation and research and development by developing a robust AI Use Case Inventory that will allow HHS staff track how and where AI applications are deployed.
Learn more about the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services AI strategy and implementation at https://www.hhs.gov/about/agencies/asa/ocio/ai/index.html.
The HHS mission is to enhance the health and well-being of all Americans, by providing for effective health and human services and by fostering sound, sustained advances in the sciences underlying medicine, public health, and social services.
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