PerspectiveMedicine

Achieving fairness in medical devices

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Science  02 Apr 2021:
Vol. 372, Issue 6537, pp. 30-31
DOI: 10.1126/science.abe9195

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Summary

The hardware or software that operates medical devices can be biased. A biased device is one that operates in a manner that disadvantages certain demographic groups and influences health inequity. As one measure of fairness, reducing bias is related to increasing fairness in the operation of a medical device. Initiatives to promote fairness are rapidly growing in a range of technical disciplines, but this growth is not rapid enough for medical engineering. Although computer science companies terminate lucrative but biased facial recognition systems, biased medical devices continue to be sold as commercial products. It is important to address bias in medical devices now. This can be achieved by studying where and how bias arises, and understanding these can inform mitigation strategies.

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