The Royal develops a ‘trust’ framework for AI
November 18, 2020
OTTAWA – The Royal, one of Canada’s foremost mental healthcare, teaching and research hospitals, is working in partnership with NuEnergy.ai to design a framework that uses trust as a key principle in the development of Artificial Intelligence (AI) innovations. As The Royal advances its research and technologies, a governance framework can ensure privacy, awareness of bias, ethics and transparency are upheld to support the mental health needs of clients, families and communities.
“This project will be a great springboard for The Royal and other healthcare leaders as they increase their use of AI and machine learning in their digital health offerings. These innovations need transparent and ethical monitoring to deliver potential breakthroughs” said Niraj Bhargava (pictured), co-founder and CEO, NuEnergy.ai and trustee, Royal Ottawa Health Care Group. Bhargava and NuEnergy.ai undertook the project pro-bono to support mental health care in the community.
“Digital innovation, including AI technology, has great potential to support improvements in addictions and mental healthcare. As with any change in the way we deliver care, exploring the risks of AI is as important as exploring the benefits. We are collaborating with clients, families and NuEnergy to consider safeguards for the ethical use of this powerful innovation in mental healthcare. We want to be sure we are using AI in a way that clients and families can trust,” said Joanne Bezzubetz, president and CEO, The Royal.
“The COVID-19 Pandemic has made it even more critical to augment mental health and addictions services for Canadians,” added Bezzubetz. “Several studies conducted by our Institute of Mental Health Research shows that people are experiencing increased signs of stress, anxiety, depression, and substance use as a result of COVID-19.”
The Royal-NuEnergy collaboration will use recent work by Dr. Zachary Kaminsky, DIFD-Mach-Gaensslen chair in Suicide Prevention Research at The Royal as a case study to help inform its initial framework. Kaminsky has developed an algorithm that can identify if a person is at risk for suicide based on their social media posts. The algorithm is called the Suicide Artificial Intelligence Prediction Heuristic or SAIPH.
“Social media posts are filled with insight into the lives of our families and friends. If we look across thousands of posts and apply rigorous models of psychological analysis, we can identify people who may be at risk for suicide and work to connect them with the support they need,” Dr. Kaminsky said.
“Of course it would be nearly impossible for a human being to assess the data quickly and efficiently enough to be helpful, but AI can do it in a matter of seconds,” he noted.
“AI has great potential but for it to be embraced, it has to be trusted,” said Dr. Kaminsky. “Addressing privacy, bias and other key trust parameters will make AI more usable for finding ‘hot spots’ for suicidal thinking and improving suicide prevention across communities.”
NuEnergy.ai is providing its services to co-develop and deliver a framework that The Royal can use for evaluating the trustworthiness of clinical tools that deploy AI.
“We are passionate about the impact that innovations and ethical AI can make on the mental health of Canadians. We believe that AI should be trustworthy,” said Bhargava. “This important collaboration will help ensure that The Royal has access to a framework to measure and manage the trust of AI in their specialized services with digital health advancements for their clients and families.
“We are contributing the expertise of our dedicated associates and partners on this important mission. Our aim is to co-create an AI Governance framework to maintain the trust of clients, families and communities while supporting The Royal’s innovation agenda.”
About The Royal
The Royal is one of Canada’s foremost mental healthcare, teaching and research hospitals. Working in collaboration with clients, families, and partners throughout its community, The Royal delivers specialized mental healthcare, advocacy, research and education to transform the lives of people living with complex and treatment-resistant mental illness.
NuEnergy.ai is a Canadian Artificial Intelligence management software and professional services firm that helps build guardrails for organizations that develop or deploy AI to mitigate risk and maintain trust. NuEnergy’s qualified team co-creates AI Governance frameworks with clients based on leading international principles and standards, then openly and transparently integrates its ‘machine trust’ measurement and qualified software techniques built on a patent- pending methodology. NuEnergy.ai has partnered with the Government of Canada for initial contracts and integrates its Treasury Board directive – Algorithmic Impact Assessment (AIA) – into its platform for its clients. NuEnergy.ai is qualified at the top tier of the Government AI Source List and stands out as the only independent AI Governance company in the 2019 open call. NuEnergy integrates professional services, technology tools, techniques and methodologies from its ecosystem of partners that includes other Canadian companies like Apption, Decision Partners, Netfore and PolyML.