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24: Ethical Autonomous AI Diagnosis, with Michael D. Abramoff, M.D., Ph.D., Founder and Executive Chairman, Digital Diagnostics

Day Zero

24: Ethical Autonomous AI Diagnosis, with Michael D. Abramoff, M.D., Ph.D., Founder and Executive Chairman, Digital Diagnostics

This episode is hosted by Day Zero advisory council member Suchi Saria, Ph.D., Founder and CEO, Bayesian Health. Dr. Saria spoke with Dr. Michael D. Abramoff about the founding of…
March 8, 2022

24: Ethical Autonomous AI Diagnosis, with Michael D. Abramoff, M.D., Ph.D., Founder and Executive Chairman, Digital Diagnostics

Meet Michael D. Abramoff, M.D., Ph.D.:

Michael D. Abramoff, M.D., Ph.D. is neuroscientist, fellowship-trained retina specialist, and computer engineer. He is the Founder and Executive Chairman at Digital Diagnostics as well as the Robert C. Watzke, M.D., Professor of Ophthalmology and Visual Sciences at the University of Iowa. Previously, he was the Founder, CEO, and Executive Chairman of IDx. Dr. Abramoff received his M.D. from the University of Amsterdam and Ph.D. in Medical Imaging from Utrecht University. 

Key Insights:

Dr. Abramoff’s company Digital Diagnostics developed the first FDA approved autonomous AI. 

  • Closing the Care Gap. The primary care physicians and endocrinologists most involved in diabetes care lack the expertise to diagnose diabetic retinopathy. Digital Diagnostics’ autonomous AI can make that diagnosis in-office, rather than referring the patient out to another specialist. (8:29)
  • Earning Reimbursement. To get buy in from clinicians and the FDA, Digital Diagnostics had to show that their product was safe, effective, and built on diverse data to prevent bias. Additionally, early on they claimed that as creators of the AI, they are liable for its performance. These features eventually led to a CPT code, creating proof of concept and a path for autonomous AI in healthcare. (12:58)
  • Ethics in AI. When hiring engineers and developers, Dr. Abramoff emphasized the importance of ethics. Single characters in their code could make a difference for a patient. Their work at the aggregate needed to represent individual patients and account for their individual experiences. (22:16)

This episode is hosted by Suchi Saria, Ph.D. She is a member of the Advisory Council for Day Zero and is the founder and CEO of Bayesian Health. She is also an Associate Professor of computer science, statistics, and health policy, and the Director of the Machine Learning and Healthcare Lab at Johns Hopkins University

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