Cookies on this website

We use cookies to ensure that we give you the best experience on our website. If you click 'Accept all cookies' we'll assume that you are happy to receive all cookies and you won't see this message again. If you click 'Reject all non-essential cookies' only necessary cookies providing core functionality such as security, network management, and accessibility will be enabled. Click 'Find out more' for information on how to change your cookie settings.

BACKGROUND: As the use of AI becomes more pervasive, and computerised systems are used in clinical decision-making, the role of trust in, and the trustworthiness of, AI tools will need to be addressed. Using the case of computational phenotyping to support the diagnosis of rare disease in dysmorphology, this paper explores under what conditions we could place trust in medical AI tools, which employ machine learning. METHODS: Semi-structured qualitative interviews (n = 20) with stakeholders (clinical geneticists, data scientists, bioinformaticians, industry and patient support group spokespersons) who design and/or work with computational phenotyping (CP) systems. The method of constant comparison was used to analyse the interview data. RESULTS: Interviewees emphasized the importance of establishing trust in the use of CP technology in identifying rare diseases. Trust was formulated in two interrelated ways in these data. First, interviewees talked about the importance of using CP tools within the context of a trust relationship; arguing that patients will need to trust clinicians who use AI tools and that clinicians will need to trust AI developers, if they are to adopt this technology. Second, they described a need to establish trust in the technology itself, or in the knowledge it provides-epistemic trust. Interviewees suggested CP tools used for the diagnosis of rare diseases might be perceived as more trustworthy if the user is able to vouchsafe for the technology's reliability and accuracy and the person using/developing them is trusted. CONCLUSION: This study suggests we need to take deliberate and meticulous steps to design reliable or confidence-worthy AI systems for use in healthcare. In addition, we need to devise reliable or confidence-worthy processes that would give rise to reliable systems; these could take the form of RCTs and/or systems of accountability transparency and responsibility that would signify the epistemic trustworthiness of these tools. words 294.

Original publication




Journal article


BMC Med Ethics

Publication Date





AI, Computational phenotyping, Digital phenotyping, Electronic phenotyping, Epistemic and relational trust, Qualitative research, Rare diseases, Trustworthiness