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Improving human care with ethical Augmented Intelligence

Augmented Intelligence (AI) is beginning to help businesses throughout Humana deliver seamless experiences and improve member health outcomes. But, what is it? 


You may be familiar with Artificial Intelligence, which uses data to perform a complex task. It has given us technology like facial recognition, speech-to-text, and machine learning. Augmented Intelligence utilizes those same technologies, but where it differs from Artificial Intelligence is in its approach. The goal of Augmented Intelligence is to optimize our decision-making abilities, ensuring humans are operating the "control panel." 


Augmented Intelligence in use at Humana 

Augmented Intelligence is already being leveraged within the enterprise, from call centers to care delivery. For example, Bold Goal, Digital Health and Analytics, and Retail teams created the Basic Needs Program in the early days of the pandemic to lift our members out of food insecurity. This was achieved in part by building predictive models that anticipate potential health declines among members facing food insecurity, enabling care teams to serve our most at-risk members. “As Humana works to deliver human care, augmented intelligence is an important part of our strategy,” says Ang Sun, VP, Enterprise Data Science and Cognitive AI. “Augmented intelligence can help us make the next appropriate action from a digital perspective, and as a result, help us build trust with our members and patients.” 


The importance of ethics and Augmented Intelligence 

Research shows that Augmented Intelligence can reflect and magnify the values in society, including biases. For example, on average healthcare utilization in the U.S. is lower among Black, Native American, and Indigenous populations. Without that human element and proper analysis, this can be confused for a reduced need. The march toward equity can be halted by just a few lines of code. 

In this rapidly transforming space, Humana is paving a path for fairness. In 2020, Humana was the first healthcare company to sign the Equal AI pledge. This pledge holds us accountable to test for unconscious bias around protected classes, to take appropriate actions when identified, and to ask our vendors to do the same. Our Augmented Intelligence Ethics Operating and Governance Committees bring together diverse perspectives to foster more equitable and inclusive Augmented Intelligence at Humana. This work is also taking ground in data science talent acquisition strategies. 

Carolyn Tandy, SVP, Chief Inclusion & Diversity Officer shares, "I am glad to see Humana is taking a proactive approach to ensuring equity in the AI space. AI is an important tool that should be used responsibly to reduce discrimination and bias. The AI Ethics Operating and Governance Committees' work will build trust with our members and our associate population, translating to trust in the fairness of our data and the delivery of inclusive experiences for all of us. 


As AI redefines how business is done, Humana's ethical Augmented Intelligence efforts are moving forward, deliberately, and thoughtfully. “When we advance equity and fairness in AI, we help members achieve their best health,” Ang Sun adds. “It helps us identify appropriate interventions that have the potential to significantly improve people’s lives.” 


To learn more about how we are championing more equitable and sustainable practices across the healthcare system please read Humana’s 2021 Impact Report.  


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