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Artificial intelligence in intensive care units

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An artificial intelligence developed at TU Wien (Vienna) can suggest appropriate treatment steps in cases of blood poisoning. The computer has already surpassed humans in this respect.

With the help of extensive data from intensive care units of various hospitals, an artificial intelligence was developed that provides suggestions for the treatment of people who require intensive care due to sepsis. In the future, artificial intelligence will play an important role in medicine. In diagnostics, successful tests have already been performed: for example, the computer can learn to categorise images with great accuracy according to whether they show pathological changes or not. However, it is more difficult to train an artificial intelligence to examine the time-varying conditions of patients and to calculate treatment suggestions — this is precisely what has now been achieved at TU Wien in cooperation with the Medical University of Vienna. Nowadays, AI is enabling the optimal use of existing data. Medical staff make their decisions on the basis of well-founded rules. Most of the time, they know very well which parameters they have to take into account in order to provide the best care. However, the computer can easily take many more parameters than a human into account — and in some cases this can lead to even better decisions.

Second, the computer is serving as a planning agent. The computer becomes an agent that makes its own decisions: if the patient is well, the computer is “rewarded.” If the condition deteriorates or death occurs, the computer is “punished.” The computer programme has the task of maximising its virtual “reward” by taking actions. In this way, extensive medical data can be used to automatically determine a strategy which achieves a particularly high probability of success.

Source: science daily