New hospital computer ‘can predict death’


Could predictive systems turn up in hospitals around the world ?
A remarkable new monitoring computer is so accurate that it can predict when a patient is likely to die.
Developed in Boston, the supercomputer is able to determine a patient’s condition and outcome by combining existing patient records with data obtained through real-time monitoring equipment.

The software is so sophisticated that it can diagnose what is wrong with a patient sometimes even before a doctor can and is even able to use what it has learned to predict when someone is most likely to die with an eerily high rate of accuracy.

“We can predict with almost a 96% confidence that these patients will have this probability of dying – so, the computer says you’re gonna die, you’re probably going to die in the next 30 days,” said project leader Dr Steven Horng.

Every three minutes the computer measures a patient’s vital signs and then uses its database of 250,000 records to compare and analyze their condition and to predict probable outcomes.

The researchers behind the project however are keen to play down suggestions that systems like this are being designed with the goal of eventually replacing actual doctors in hospitals.

“Our goal is not to replace the clinician,” said Dr Horng. “This artificial intelligence is really about augmenting a doctor’s ability to take care of patients.”