DeepMind, Google’s sister company, intends to solve the issue of patient deterioration in medical facilities. In its efforts, the company fed its AI vast historical medical records of nearly 700,000 US veterans. This move was driven by the expectation that it would learn how to predict transformations in patient conditions that when left unchecked can cause death.
The collaboration between the Veterans Administration (VA) and DeepMind brings some of the globe’s renowned researchers and clinicians working for the government together with leading minds in artificial intelligence research. This effort means that the US government is relying on one of the smartest computers on the globe to search for a remedy for human-error.
With increased technological advancement, especially in the AI segment, the medical field appears to be one of the primary beneficiaries. In essence, it is the work of nurses to look after or monitor patients, particularly those admitted. However, undertaking such a role has proven futile since placing each patient under regular direct care is difficult. This situation may be due to inadequate funds to hire enough nurses for every patient or a limited number of qualified nurses.
Currently, a large part of patient monitoring is carried out remotely by using sensors and electronics such as respirators and EKGs. In this particular case, both doctors and nurses conduct rounds around a medical facility with the aim of checking on every patient while keeping a keen ear on the alarm systems installed at the central station. These alarms help to keep the medical professionals alert to ensure that each patient’s medical condition remains stable. Nevertheless, most patients are usually left unwatched in a majority of the cases.
With the possibility of DeepMind teaching AI to understand why patient conditions deteriorate, there is hope for machines taking over monitoring functions theoretically. AI can continuously monitor each patient at all times since computers, unlike human beings, do not get tired or take breaks. Although this innovative undertaking may not be an immediate solution to solving human-error in the medical industry, which is the third top cause of death in the United States, it is a brilliant beginning.
To conduct this exercise, all the data gathered from the records of service members was scrubbed of private details to guarantee the confidentiality of the veterans.
According to a DeepMind blog post, the team concentrated on a given issue to help them set the groundwork for more work in the field. The blog post said that the team was dealing with Acute Kidney Injury (AKI), which makes up the leading condition that is commonly linked with patient deterioration. Both VA and DeepMind possess expertise in this area. Aside from AKI being asymptomatic and sudden, its risk factors are common issues in most hospitals. Additionally, the condition regularly occurs following routine operations and producers such as hip replacement.
Since DeepMind boasts as one of the smartest teams in AI research, it is best suited to save lives. By eradicating the issue of human-error in hospitals, the team could drastically increase the lifespan of human beings.