Tuesday October 23, 2018

AI Clinician Recommends Treatment for Sepsis Patients

Using AI as a diagnostic aid is nothing new. Some systems are already helping radiologists spot tumors, but systems like that stop short of actually recommending treatments. Now, researchers have made an "AI Clinician" that looks at a patient's symptoms and actually recommends sepsis treatments. The AI was trained on over 17,000 cases, and by some metrics, it outperforms real doctors. Aldo Faisal, one of the paper's authors, told Spectrum "It's really cognition that is captured here. We're not just making the AI see like a doctor, we're making it act like a doctor."

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After AI Clinician experimented with the 17,000 cases in its training data set, it was tested on 79,000 cases it had never seen before. Overall, the AI recommended lower doses of IV fluids and higher doses of vasopressors than the patients actually received in those test cases. Patients who received doses similar to those recommended by AI Clinician had the lowest mortality. The researchers plan to test their system in a real hospital-though for safety's sake, the first trials won't affect patient care. Initially the AI Clinician will get real-time data from the hospital's electronic medical record system and will issue recommendations, but the doctors won't see them or act on them. The researchers will observe patient outcomes, and determine whether patients fare better when the doctors independently decide on the same course of treatment that the AI recommends. If the trials prove AI Clinician's worth, the researchers will work toward commercial software that can be put in place in hospitals across the world. "With sepsis, we've struggled to find new treatments," says Gordon. "But optimizing our current therapies can have a big effect. Even if we can change mortality by just a few percentage points, we can save tens of thousands of lives."