Ethical Landscape of Artificial Intelligence in Dermatology

Ethical Landscape of Artificial Intelligence in Dermatology

The field of dermatology is undergoing a transformative phase with the rapid integration of artificial intelligence (AI) technologies. From mobile applications designed for skin cancer detection to sophisticated language models like ChatGPT capable of addressing both generalist and specialist inquiries regarding skin diagnoses, AI is reshaping clinical practice. However, as these innovations proliferate, ethical considerations loom large.

In a recent scoping review published in the British Journal of Dermatology (BJD), researchers explored the diverse applications of AI within dermatology and dissected their ethical implications. Employing an exhaustive search strategy encompassing databases such as PubMed, Medline, Cochrane, and Google Scholar, the study adhered to the Preferred Reporting Items for Systematic Reviews and Meta-analysis (PRISMA) Extension for Scoping Reviews.

The comprehensive search yielded a corpus of 202 papers, from which 68 were selected for inclusion following meticulous screening. Among these, several key themes emerged:

  1. Clinical Image Analysis: Thirty-two studies scrutinized the realm of clinical image analysis, spotlighting concerns surrounding misdiagnosis, data security, privacy breaches, and the potential displacement of dermatologist roles.

  2. Skin of Color Representation: Seventeen articles underscored the underrepresentation of diverse skin types in datasets, accentuating the risk of misdiagnosis within the broader population.

  3. Teledermatology: Nine studies broached ethical dilemmas associated with teledermatology, including the exacerbation of health disparities, regulatory ambiguities, informed consent regarding AI utilization, and privacy challenges.

  4. Large Language Models: Seven papers investigated the reliability of responses from large language models, shedding light on their occasional inaccuracies.

  5. Attitudes and Trust: Another seven studies probed patient attitudes and trust levels towards AI, revealing a prevailing preference for supplemental assessment by physicians to ensure accountability and reliability.

While the integration of AI promises manifold benefits such as enhanced patient access, refined clinical decision-making, and operational efficiency, it is imperative to erect robust safeguards to uphold ethical standards. The review emphasizes the urgency of addressing ethical considerations in tandem with technological advancements to foster responsible and equitable AI deployment in dermatological practice.

By elucidating the ethical dimensions of AI implementation, this scoping review serves as a compass for navigating the evolving landscape of dermatological innovation, advocating for a conscientious approach that prioritizes patient welfare and ethical integrity.

Skin Ageing & Challenges will cover all recent advances in AI and dermatology. Don’t forget to join us on November 5-6, 2024 at Corinthia Palace Malta to know more about this topic. 

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