Children's National, KenSci studying the use of AI to improve pediatric critical care

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Children's National Health System and KenSci plan to use artificial intelligence to better predict pediatric patients at risk of further deterioration in the intensive care unit. (Children's National)

Children’s National Health System in Washington, D.C., is collaborating with technology company KenSci to study the use of artificial intelligence to improve pediatric risk scores in the intensive care unit.

Through the research collaborative, Children's National and KenSci, a company that develops machine learning software, will work together to develop new models to understand the factors that impact criticality in pediatric patients. The organizations aim to enhance pediatric risk scores to improve clinical decision-making in critical care.   

Risk scores have been used since the mid-'80s to predict mortality risks in pediatric ICUs, according to Murray Pollack, M.D., director of outcomes research at Children’s National and a professor of pediatrics at George Washington University School of Medicine. In most cases, these scores are used for quality assessment, he said.

“Our collaborative goals are to study the temporal variation in data, taking the first step towards dynamic risk scoring for pediatric ICUs," Pollack said.

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Hiroki Morizono, Ph.D., director of biomedical informatics at the Children’s National Center for Genetic Medicine Research, said the AI modeling could predict an individual patient’s likelihood of deterioration or improvement.

“We see tremendous possibilities for how this research can be used safely and securely to supplement the clinician’s judgment,” Morizono said.

The joint team will use KenSci's AI platform to test different models and compare their predictive effectiveness to prior baselines developed by Children’s National and George Washington University. 

Ankur Teredesai, KenSci’s co-founder and chief technology officer, said in a statement: “Time is our best ally if integrated appropriately with other variables in healthcare machine learning and AI. Adding dynamism holds tremendous promise to be assistive for critical care."

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Hospitals and health systems are increasingly using AI and machine learning to analyze data to support diagnosis and treatment. AI is being applied to oncology to help physicians manage volumes of data and to rapidly annotate the results of tumor genome sequencing, identifying potential therapeutic options.

Eye doctors at Aravind Eye Hospital in Madurai, India, are using a machine learning algorithm developed by technology company Verily to screen patients for diabetic retinopathy, intending to use technology to fill gaps in patient access to eye doctors. 

HCA Healthcare developed an AI algorithm to more quickly identify patients with sepsis. The health system said its sepsis prediction and optimization of therapy technology so far has been used with 2.5 million patients and, together with the use of clinical interventions, has helped save an estimated 8,000 lives in the last five years.