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September 18, 2023 AI in CT

New collaborative aims to make CT an AI healthcare hub

Scott Lowry

A new effort is underway to make Connecticut a hub for artificial intelligence in the healthcare industry.

The Connecticut Health AI Collaborative is actively recruiting members, including physicians, AI experts, researchers and others interested in the field.

Those who participate will use AI to advance health care by developing applications to improve patient care, enhance diagnostics and reduce costs.

Scott Lowry, project coordinator with the collaborative, said the idea is to have all major healthcare organizations and universities working together on artificial intelligence, instead of individually.

“The theory is that we are better together,” Lowry said. “AI represents an enormous opportunity, and the goal is to switch from a reactive to a proactive approach to it.”

The effort to build the collaborative started earlier this year, and Lowry estimates it will take up to two years to get it fully operating.

He noted how Delaware is known for being a popular place for companies to incorporate because of its legal infrastructure and policies.

“I think there is an opportunity for Connecticut to become the AI state,” Lowry said.

He foresees Connecticut pursuing policies and legal infrastructure to make it similarly attractive, but for AI and health care.

“There is a vacuum on AI regulation and applications,” Lowry said. “Connecticut can step up and fill that void.”

Lowry envisions Connecticut-based universities developing a curriculum around the use of AI in health care, for example, to help recruit workers.

Another idea is to create a solutions library that’s accessible to the healthcare industry statewide. If an algorithm is created to solve a problem that would benefit others in the sector, the library would be a way to share it, Lowry said.

State lawmakers held a hearing in June on the collaborative, which attracted politicians and medical professionals.

State Sen. Saud Anwar (D-South Windsor), a medical doctor who also co-chairs the legislature’s Public Health Committee, said AI has the potential to revolutionize how medical personnel manage and diagnose patients.

Saud Anwar

“We are hoping that we can make Connecticut the hub for health care and artificial intelligence in the United States and beyond,” Anwar said.

However, the state needs to ensure it has policies in place to make that happen, Anwar said.

“We have some of the finest healthcare systems and data already here,” Anwar said. “We’ll be having specific meetings around this to find out from a policy side what needs to be done. I’m working to make sure that we use artificial intelligence intelligently in our state.”

As of early September, Anwar said those involved in the effort were in the process of setting up meetings with Gov. Ned Lamont to see if he will consider it as a priority.

Anwar said he anticipates the effort ultimately will mean more jobs in Connecticut.

Currently, the collaborative is the work of a volunteer organizing committee that includes physicians, hospital leaders, technology experts and executives. Once the collaborative is formed and names an executive committee, a management team will be selected.

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