Artificial intelligence aids in Zika, Ebola diagnoses

Rush University Medical Center is using artificial intelligence technology to alert doctors when a patient might have the Zika virus or Ebola, reports The Chicago Tribune.

The medical center's predictive software, called Guardian, analyzes and learns from data in electronic medical records. If a patient has recently traveled to South American or African countries, that information goes into the EHR and could alert physicians that the patient might have a rare disease, helping them make a diagnosis faster.

AI also is playing a role in individualized treatments for patients, with both Carnegie Mellon University and the University of Pittsburgh using the tech to create healthcare plans not only by disease, but also for specific types of people.

Dino Rumoro, M.D., chairman of Rush's Department of Emergency Medicine, began developing his facility's predictive technology after the deadly 1995 heat wave in Chicago, according to the article. In 2005, his group landed funding from the U.S. Department of Defense to work on technology to detect biological threats, such as anthrax.

The medical center also rolled out an application last year that can predict with 90 percent accuracy whether patients coming into an emergency room will need to be hospitalized. In addition, it makes predictions about when patients will be well enough to be discharged, helping to make that process more efficient.

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