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September 25, 2020 Message from the Chair

Message from the Chair

By Eric Y. Drogin

Artificial Intelligence and Healthcare

Nine years ago to the day, I wrote:

I’m delighted to be writing the first of four “Messages from the Chair” for The SciTech Lawyer.

Well, let’s change that to “the fifth of eight,” although we can certainly keep the “delighted” part. It’s great to be back as Section Chair for another term. I was a bit disappointed not to be surrounded by cheering throngs like the last time, until one of our healthcare experts reminded me that “hey, it’s against the law now.” Fair enough.

Speaking of healthcare experts, we have a slew of them for you in this Fall’s issue on “Artificial Intelligence and Healthcare,” due to the efforts of SciTech stalwarts—in alphabetical order, since they won’t let me see the cover yet—Lisa Lifshitz, Lois Mermelstein, and Larry Thorpe. No less impressive than this issue’s list of editors and authors is what we legal types might call its subject-matter diversity. Hotspots. Cybersecurity. Digital transformation. Chatbots. Wearables. Privacy. Okay, something that looks rather like sedition (“the Intelligent Health revolution has begun!”), but also ethics.

This issue is a fitting finale for our outgoing Editor-in-Chief Peter McLaughlin, thanks to whom The SciTech Lawyer remains the envy of entities several times our size. We remain in his debt.

Your approach to The SciTech Lawyer may be similar to mine. I tend to flip through the latest issue when it arrives, idly wondering if it really has anything for me. Then, I start to take a closer look. After a few minutes, I glance about guiltily when I realize I’m not billing somebody for something. What if somebody calls? That’s okay—my practice is going so well that I have voicemail. When I’m done reading, I can hardly wait for the phone to ring, because now I get to sound smart about something. My own intelligence is no longer so artificial.

For me, the current issue was certainly no exception. I work in healthcare, but a number of the things I read here had never occurred to me, including:

  1. There’s now a COVID-19 Open Research Data Set (CORD-19) that boasts over 29,000 scholarly articles . . . accessible online for free.
  2. Cybersecurity threats associated with telehealth appear to be evolving every bit as dramatically as the technology that they menace.
  3. There’s a new generation of “wearables” available that can predict heart problems and help to prevent coronavirus infection.
  4. The Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) has weighed in with a range of policy directives to ensure that applications of AI to healthcare are transparent, explainable, robust, secure, and safe.
  5. Checklists are being developed to ensure that ethical concerns with respect to privacy can be reviewed and addressed before a given organization acquires a customized AI system.

Speaking of AI, by the time this issue hits the newsstands in October, you’ll be able to log on each Wednesday of that month for another portion of SciTech’s “Artificial Intelligence and Robotics National (Virtual) Institute 2020.” It’s still not too late to register via the link that appears at

When it comes to this event and all other things SciTech, I hope you won’t hesitate to contact me directly at (339) 200-9131, or at [email protected], if I can assist you in any way.

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