Ensuring safety and innovation while integrating AI into medical devices | HCLTech

Ensuring safety and innovation while integrating AI into medical devices

As the healthcare industry increasingly embraces AI, organizations need to be prepared to address the emerging regulatory challenges
6 minutes read
Srivathsa G
Srivathsa G
Global Delivery Head for Engineering - Life Sciences, HCLTech
6 minutes read
Ensuring safety and innovation while integrating AI into medical devices

AI and ML have ushered in a new era of possibilities in healthcare, particularly in medical devices. These AI-driven tools, such as those used in oncology to analyze mammograms or in cardiology to predict cardiac events, are not just automated — they evolve intuitively, growing more sophisticated with each patient interaction. Their ability to discern intricate patterns, providing rich insights and enhanced decision-making capabilities is far beyond what was previously possible.

This shift to AI-driven systems cultivates dynamic and adaptable healthcare systems that continuously evolve. These systems ensure that the software not only supports clinicians but also evolves alongside them. The continuous learning embedded within these models ensures precision and personalization in patient care, consistently refining and enhancing the quality of healthcare delivery. 

The evolutionary nature of AI-ML code

The evolution of AI-ML code contrasts sharply with traditional software. Traditional software is characterized by static pieces of code, whereas AI-ML code is dynamic and adapts over time, reshaping the development and maintenance processes. Unlike traditional software, which undergoes a stringent testing cycle upon each update, AI-ML parts require continuous evaluation and monitoring, spanning from the development phase to the post-market phase. This iterative improvement process necessitates a novel approach to regulatory frameworks.

The current regulatory landscape 

Recent data from the US FDA highlights a substantial increase in AI/ML-enabled medical devices, with over 650 listings as of October 2023. These devices predominantly enhance radiology, cardiovascular and haematology practices, offering support to clinicians by improving detection accuracy, triage efficiency and task prioritization. With this increased adoption of AI/ML and evolving guidelines, it’s essential that organizations align the need to adopt these technologies with a well thought out regulatory path.  

Guiding principles for AI-ML in medical devices

The collaborative guidelines from the US FDA, Health Canada and UK MHRA consist of 10 principles in development and deployment of devices with AI-ML technology:

  1. Multi-disciplinary: Integrating diverse expertise is crucial throughout the Total Product Life Cycle (TPLC) of AI/ML devices
  2. Software engineering and security: Implementing robust software engineering and security practices is non-negotiable
  3. Clinical relevance: Clinical study participants and data must truly represent the intended patient population
  4. Independence of data: Training datasets should be independent of test sets, ensuring unbiased validation
  5. Best available methods: Reference datasets must be chosen based on the best available analytical methods
  6. Tailored model design: The design should reflect the intended use, tailored to available data
  7. Human-AI team performance: Performance metrics should focus on the synergistic operation of the Human-AI team
  8. Clinical condition testing: Devices must be tested under clinically relevant conditions to demonstrate real-world performance
  9. Clear user information: Essential information must be clear and readily accessible to users
  10. Monitored models: Deployed models require monitoring to manage performance and re-training risks effectively
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Industry implications for AI-ML in medical devices

While these principles set forth by regulatory bodies provide a structured framework, their broader impact on the industry extends beyond compliance. 

First, it is essential to have a collaborative environment that leverages multidisciplinary expertise. This spans across technology, regulatory knowledge and clinical applications, ensuring that devices are not only innovative but also compliant and relevant to patient care. This means companies need to invest in acquiring or building skillsets that are traditionally not in their area of expertise. 

Second, organizations must clearly make cybersecurity their topmost business priority, and not consider it just an IT problem. This will require a fundamental shift in the culture of an organization toward cybersecurity. 

Moreover, we will see a shift toward decentralized trails to validate the clinical relevance of these next-gen devices as they must be substantiated through validation in real-world settings, reflecting true patient demographics and conditions. 

Collectively, these imperatives underscore the need for a proactive, patient-centric approach that companies must adopt to stay at the forefront of healthcare innovation.

Expertise in regulatory compliance and AI integration

HCLTech's expertise in regulatory compliance and AI integration becomes invaluable in navigating the industry imperatives outlined above.

By interpreting the latest standards and understanding the complex regulatory landscape, we facilitate not just the integration of AI into medical devices but also the realization of its full potential in improving patient outcomes.

Moving forward, AI will dramatically reshape the healthcare industry for the better by accelerating diagnoses and enhancing patient care.

Artificial Intelligence
Life Sciences and Healthcare
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