Healthcare Issues: Integrating AI Applications into CPSA's Regulatory Work – Association of Physicians and Surgeons of Alberta

Applications of AI

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Ed Jess, Chief Innovation Officer

As Chief Innovation Officer, I am fortunate to lead CPSA’s Analytics, Innovation and Research (AIR) department, and one of my focus areas is understanding how CPSA can leverage artificial intelligence (AI) technology to optimize and support regulatory operations and enhance patient care in Alberta.

Broadly speaking, AI is the simulation of human intelligence processes by computer systems. These processes include learning, reasoning, and self-correction. Ideally, applying AI technologies to CPSA's work will enable the team to function more efficiently and effectively. This includes using AI for data analysis, predictive analytics, and enhancing decision-making processes.

AI Applications in CPSA

AIR, in collaboration with our partner organization, the Alberta Tracking Prescription Program (TPP), has provided valuable data through the development of a machine learning (ML) model called the Opioid Risk Model. Machine learning (ML) is a branch of AI that allows machines to automatically learn from data and past experience and make predictions with minimal human intervention. The purpose of this ML model is to identify patients who may be at high risk for adverse outcomes (e.g., emergency department visits, hospitalizations, death) within 30 days of dispensing an opioid. In 2023, we worked with a group of prescribers of opioid agonist therapy to evaluate the benefits of receiving weekly risk scores for patients identified through the Opioid Risk Model. This collaboration has yielded positive results and feedback. We are currently exploring adding the Opioid Risk Model to MD Snapshot-Prescribing, an existing tool that is sent quarterly to physicians who prescribe opioids and benzodiazepines (including other monitored medications) in Alberta. You can read more about this potential addition in our July report. Messenger Read the article and give us your feedback by completing a short survey.

AI Applications Across Canada

AI and regulation are at the forefront of the agenda in Alberta and across Canada. I had the opportunity to meet with colleagues from across the country at the Federation of Healthcare Regulators of Canada (FMRAC) annual meeting in June. CPSA participated in a panel on AI in healthcare alongside the Medical Council of Canada (MCC) and the Canadian Medical Protection Agency (CMPA). We presented our work on developing an opioid risk model, MCC demonstrated how they are using AI to increase organizational efficiency, and CMPA shared some of the legal challenges associated with the use of AI in healthcare settings. What became clear throughout the panel discussion was that the evolution of AI technology has reached a stage where it can be integrated into key roles in healthcare regulation and other environments.

AI Applications for Doctors

Many physicians are eager to learn how AI tools can improve workflows within their practices and reduce the administrative work that comes with practicing medicine. AIMSS (Artificial Intelligence in Medical Systems Society) is an Alberta organization focused on enhancing healthcare through the responsible use of AI. This non-profit, multidisciplinary organization was founded in 2019 as a group of students at the University of Alberta. They are starting a study called: Evaluate the use of an artificial intelligence scribe tool to reduce physicians' perceptions of administrative burden and increase patient satisfaction. The study aims to monitor the impact of integrating AI Scribe tools into healthcare, specifically reducing administrative workload and improving the quality of patient care. Physicians who participate in the study will receive a free two-month trial of the Personal Information Protection and Electronic Documents Act (PIPEDA) compliant AI Scribe technology to incorporate into their regular workflow. For more information about this study, please contact Dr. Amira Aissiou at with “AI SCRIBE” in the subject line.

AI in healthcare is becoming more prevalent with each passing week and has the potential to significantly improve the productivity of our healthcare system. Ensuring the ethical use of AI in regulation, including transparency into the AI ​​decision-making process, is essential to maintaining public trust and accountability. In the coming months, CPSA will continue to encourage physicians to be creative and innovative as they explore AI, while balancing privacy and data security concerns, to ensure Albertans receive safe, quality healthcare.

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