UCSF teams with Microsoft, others to fast-track AI in healthcare: 5 details

University of California San Francisco teamed Microsoft Azure, Intel and Fortanix to establish a confidential computing platform that will accelerate the development and validation of clinical algorithms.

Five things to know:

1. The platform will have a “zero-trust” environment to protect intellectual property associated with an algorithm as well as protect healthcare data privacy.

2. The UC San Francisco Center for Digital Health Innovation’s proprietary BeeKeeperAI will provide workflows for more efficient data access and orchestration across several data providers. The platform will also rely on Fortanix Confidential Cloud Computing Enclave Manager, Software Guard Extensions from Intel and Microsoft Azure’s confidential cloud computing infrastructure.

3. The platform will use a clinical-grade algorithm that identifies the need for blood transfusion for trauma patients in the emergency department as a reference standard when comparing the results of other algorithms.

4. The partnership plans to use HIPAA-protected data for algorithm developers and researchers to conduct multisite validation in future phases of the platform. The partnership’s goal is to support multisite clinical trials to accelerate regulated AI solution development.

5. The data sets will remain in control of the healthcare institution conducting the trial in a secure enclave within Azure cloud. The data is processed in a second enclave, which connects to a third enclave holding the algorithm.

“While we have been very successful in creating clinical-grade AI algorithms that can safely operate at the point of care, such as immediately identifying life-threatening conditions on X-rays, the work was time consuming and expensive,” said Michael Blum, MD, associate vice chancellor for informatics, executive director of CDHI and professor of medicine at UCSF. “Much of the cost and expense was driven by the data acquisition, preparation, and annotation activities. With this new technology, we expect to markedly reduce the time and cost, while also addressing data security concerns.”

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