Senators want answers about algorithms that provide black patients less healthcare

Senators want answers about algorithms that provide black patients less healthcare

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A recent blockbuster study found that software used in healthcare settings systematically provides worse care for black patients than white patients, and two senators want to know what both the industry and regulators are going to do to fix the situation.

Senators Cory Booker (D-N.J.) and Ron Wyden (D-Ore.) on Tuesday issued letters to the Federal Trade Commission, the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS), and the five largest US health insurers asking about bias in the algorithms used to make healthcare decisions.

“In using algorithms, organizations often attempt to remove human flaws and biases from the process,” Booker and Wyden wrote. “Unfortunately, both the people who design these complex systems, and the massive sets of data that are used, have many historical and human biases built in. Without very careful consideration, the algorithms they subsequently create can further perpetuate those very biases.”

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