June 10, 2021

12th Meeting of the Focus Group on AI for Health

From May 19 to 21, 2021, the ITU/WHO Focus Group on “AI for Health” (FG-AI4H) held its 12th meeting online. The group is chaired by Fraunhofer Heinrich Hertz Institute’s (HHI) executive director Prof. Thomas Wiegand. Participants joined from various countries worldwide: Australia, Bangladesh, Brazil, Canada, China, Czech Republic, Finland, France, Germany, Ghana, India, Iran, Japan, Poland, Portugal, Republic of Latvia, UK, USA, Singapore, Spain, Switzerland, and Uganda. They discussed the most pressing issues around safe use of artificial intelligence (AI) in health. Furthermore, they shared updates on the activities within the various workstreams of FG-AI4H.

During the meeting, working groups, which address overarching subjects like regulation or ethics, and topic groups that are dedicated to a specific health topic in the context of AI (e.g., Malaria, Histopathology) reported significant growth and progress. Proposals for new topic groups were considered and three new topic groups on AI for “fertility and human reproduction”, “point-of-care cancer diagnostics”, and “public health and sanitation” were established.

In the further course of the meeting, the initial draft of documents related to the FG-AI4H deliverables were presented and discussed. These deliverables cover e.g., guidelines for considerations on AI4H ethics, regulation, the software life-cycle, data specifications, model training best practices, and evaluation.

Highlights of the meeting included the presentation of the FG-AI4H “Open Code Initiative ” (OCI), which is working hard to develop an international, freely accessible software platform for the assessment, data acquisition, - storage, - and annotation of AI algorithms in health. The OCI-team is at the same time preparing “challenges” that will run on the platform for relevant health topics, e.g., the topic group on ophthalmology participates with an image classification task for diabetic retinopathy.

Related activities involve the workstreams within WG-DAISAM (Working Group on Data and AI Solution Assessment methods). The group presented an update on work regarding      
AI4H auditing
, transparent model reporting, and other activities. The Working Group on Regulatory Considerations gave a status update of their mature draft deliverable, which was part of an FG-AI4H presentation at the annual World Health Assembly of the WHO end of May in Geneva, Switzerland.

The next FG-AI4H meeting will take place in autumn 2021. For more information about the upcoming events and the FG-AI4H activities, please visit the FG-AI4H website .