In 2018, the American Medical Association (AMA) released a new policy on best practices for clinicians using augmented intelligence as it grows and evolves in the health care sphere.1

Although artificial intelligence mimics tasks done by a human being, augmented intelligence is intended to help humans — like a dependable, highly intelligent associate. Augmented intelligence is not designed to replace a physician, but is intended to complement diagnoses.

With billions of dollars being funneled toward developments and research for augmented intelligence technologies, the AMA outlined the challenges and ethical questions for medical professionals to keep in mind as these technologies continue to grow in popularity in the health care field.

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“Physicians will need to learn to work effectively with [augmented intelligence] systems,” wrote authors Elliott Crigger, PhD, director of ethics policy at the AMA, and Christopher Khoury, MSc, MBA, vice president of the Environmental Intelligence and Strategic Analytics unit at the AMA, in a recent article published in the AMA Journal of Ethics. “The healthcare organizations that implement [augmented intelligence] systems should vigilantly monitor the operation of those systems to identify and address adverse consequences.”2

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One challenge with augmented intelligence is the issue of privacy and security. Simply asking patients to sign a consent form allowing physicians to use the data is not enough. Medical professionals will need to be vigilant with oversight of those data use as it is rolled into an algorithm stored within the system forever. There is also the possibility of a hack or cyberattack, as is true with most advanced systems. Healthcare organizations must understand and have a plan to meet these obstacles down the road.

“To realize its promise, health care [augmented intelligence] must be deployed in ways that promote quality of care and minimize potentially disruptive effects,” wrote Dr Crigger and Mr Khoury.

For more information about the AMA’s policy on Augmented Intelligence, please visit


  1. American Medical Association. Augmented intelligence in health care. Published June 2018. Accessed March 12, 2019.
  2. Crigger E, Khoury C. Making policy on augmented intelligence in health care. AMA J Ethics. 2019;21(2):E188-E191.