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The impact of the AI Act and the EHDS on health and technology, under debate at Barcelona Supercomputing Center

  • June 7th, 2024
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The Barcelona Supercomputing Center (BSC) has hosted a seminar focused on the reflection by experts on the proposals of the Artificial Intelligence (AI) Act and the creation of the European Health Data Space (EHDS), as well as its impact on the health and technology sector. Drs. Ricard Martínez and Alma Virto, also researchers at IRTIC, attended on June 3rd and 4th to present their perspectives on the EUCAIM and AI4HealthyAging projects, as well as the Chair in Privacy and Digital Transformation that the former directs.

The expert group participated with Professor Ulises Cortés and researcher Atia Cortés, from BSC, in providing an overview of the AI Law and contextualizing the EHDS, as well as showing the evolution in national and European laws for the reuse of health data in research in terms of data space. It also identified areas of convergence and divergence in terms of regulation and compliance corresponding to the proposed AI Law.

When referring to the EUCAIM project, researchers Laia Codo and Carles Hernandez also intervened in the conference along with the participants mentioned above to discuss the diagram of people in charge and actions of different working groups to relate them with others. Later, there was an opportunity to discuss the impact on research and innovation of the AI Act and the EHDS.

One of the sessions addressed, in the context of AI4HealthyAging, legal and ethical compliance by design and by default. In analyzing legal compliance, data protection regulation was discussed, in addition to the challenges posed by the imminent publication of the AI Act and the regulation of the European Health Data Space in such project.

The EUCAIM initiative will address the fragmentation of existing cancer image repositories and establish a distributed Atlas of Cancer Imaging with over 60 million anonymised cancer image data from over 100,000 patients, accessible to clinicians, researchers and innovators across the EU for the development and benchmarking of trustworthy AI tools. The members of the privacy and security area will lead the tasks that guarantee the adequate regulatory compliance of the project.

Regarding AI4HealthyAging, it is a solution based on AI that will enable early detection and rapid action in neurological, motor, and degenerative diseases resulting from ageing. The role of the research institute in the initiative focuses on the protection of the data used.

In the context of health, AI is emerging as a powerful tool with the potential to transform the healthcare sector. However, its implementation poses significant challenges, especially in terms of privacy, security, and ethics. The proposed AI Act and the creation of the EHDS address these concerns by establishing specific rules and regulations for the use of AI in healthcare.

These regulations address the specific risks associated with the use of AI in the diagnosis, treatment and management of healthcare, and establish clear requirements for providers and users of AI systems in this sector. From protecting the privacy of healthcare data to ensuring transparency in the use of AI algorithms, these proposals seek to promote trust and confidence in the implementation of AI in the healthcare sector.

The EHDS and the new AI Law mark a significant change in the way the European Union approaches health data management and the adoption of AI technologies.

EUCAIM is co-funded by the European Union under Grant Agreement umber 1011100633. Views and opinions expressed are however those of the author(s) only and do not necessarily reflect those of the European Union. Neither the European Union nor the granting authority can be held responsible for them.