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Hospital Icus Mine Big Data in Push For Better Outcomes


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Activity in a hospital's intensive-care unit.

Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center in Boston is working on a project to gauge risk levels in an intensive-care unit at any given time.

Credit: Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center

Some hospitals are using a big-data approach to mine massive volumes of intensive-care unit (ICU) data to help providers and patients realize improved outcomes.

Researchers are sifting through years of medical records and information from multiple sources to uncover previously unknown correlations so more trouble spots and potential solutions can be identified.

In collaboration with integrated-systems scientists from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and human-factors experts at Aptima, Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center has embarked on the Risky States initiative to measure risk levels in a specific ICU at any given time. An analysis of two years' worth of data on all ICU patients enabled the project team to identify situations that raise risk, including a high number of admissions, greater numbers of sicker patients, a higher percentage of nurses with less than a year of ICU experience, and a high patient-to-nurse ratio. The team then identified about 30 harms during and following the risky states. An application automatically extracts such data from electronic medical records and enables clinical staff to enter additional unit concerns or issues about a specific patient. A visual dashboard then estimates a risk score and presents it to the ICU staff in real time on monitors in the unit and on mobile devices.

From The Wall Street Journal
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