During the May meetings of the North Carolina Medical Board (NCMB), a range of pressing issues in healthcare regulation were discussed, with a particular focus on the integration of artificial intelligence (AI) and outreach initiatives.

NCMS staff attended these meetings. Below is an outline of what was discussed:

Navigating AI in Healthcare

The Policy Committee delved into the complexities surrounding the incorporation of AI technologies in medical practice, spurred by the introduction and discussion of a report from the Federation of State Medical Boards (FSMB). Emphasizing the need for proactive regulation, the FSMB underscored NCMB’s obligation to develop clear guidelines for the ethical and effective utilization of AI. Despite the rapid evolution of AI technology, the committee stressed the importance of upholding professional standards and patient safety, irrespective of technological advancements.

Recognizing the absence of established benchmarks in this rapidly evolving field, the committee grappled with the challenge of creating novel guidelines tailored to AI implementation. Drawing parallels to the approach taken with telemedicine, the committee proposed a broad yet adaptable policy framework, echoing the sentiment that informed consent, transparency, and accountability are paramount in AI utilization. Dr. Jan Rhyne’s presentation shed light on the multifaceted applications of AI in healthcare, from predictive analytics to clinical documentation, prompting discussions on delineating the responsibilities of physicians and AI systems.

The board is not currently drafting a policy but doing more research and having more discussion on this topic.

Regulatory Updates and Outreach Efforts

In addition to AI regulation, the Policy Committee addressed various regulatory updates and outreach initiatives aimed at engaging diverse stakeholders in healthcare. Revisions to policies regarding conflicts in healthcare settings, licensee use of innovative treatments, and contact protocols before prescribing were approved, reflecting the committee’s commitment to adaptability and responsiveness.

The Outreach Committee highlighted efforts to enhance public engagement and educational outreach. From presentations to medical societies to the exploration of mobile phone application feasibility, the committee is actively seeking innovative avenues to connect with communities and disseminate vital healthcare information.

Looking Ahead

As the landscape of healthcare continues to evolve, the NCMB remains dedicated to navigating complex regulatory challenges while prioritizing patient care and safety. With AI regulation and outreach initiatives at the forefront of its agenda, the NCMB Policy Committee is poised to drive meaningful change in North Carolina’s healthcare landscape, fostering innovation, inclusivity, and excellence in medical practice.