WHO, ITU to expand use of AI globally

The International Telecommunication Union (ITU) and World Health Organization (WHO) are converging for the global expansion of the use of artificial intelligence (AI) “to advance health for all worldwide.”

Both organizations will work through the ITU Focus Group on AI for Health and spearhead a two-year analysis to identify additional “AI in healthcare” use cases and develop a standardized framework to use AI on a global scale.

"The health sector is in many countries among the largest economic sectors or one of the fastest-growing, signaling a particularly timely need for international standardization of the convergence of AI and health,” said Thomas Wiegand, ITU Focus Group on AI for Health Chairman in a prepared statement issued by the ITU.

The group will also work with researchers, practitioners and policy-makers to develop policies to ensure the safe and appropriate use of AI in health. They will also identify data for training AI algorithms, providing a more uniform approach across the globe.

"AI could help patients to assess their symptoms, enable medical professionals in underserved areas to focus on critical cases, and save great numbers of lives in emergencies by delivering medical diagnoses to hospitals before patients arrive to be treated," said ITU Secretary-General Houlin Zhao in a prepared statement. "ITU and WHO plan to ensure that such capabilities are available worldwide for the benefit of everyone, everywhere."