Artificial Intelligence in the ICU


GAINESVILLE, Fla. (Ivanhoe Newswire)— At one time another, almost all ICUs across the country have been packed to capacity in the past year. Many patients suffering from severe COVID-19, while others fighting for the lives due to an accident, cancer or heart problems; add all of this to a nursing shortage, and we have a major healthcare problem in the United States. But Artificial intelligence in the ICU may help to relieve the workload and save more lives.

“Artificial intelligence and other technologies can be used to our advantage,” said Azra Bihorac, MD, at the Surgery & Anesthesiology UF University of Medicine.

(Read Full Interview)

A group of University of Florida health researchers is using artificial intelligence, capturing information from sensors, meters and cameras, to constantly monitor the most critical of patients.

Dr. Bihorac mentioned, “We utilize pervasive sensing sensors that can be placed on patients in their environment and continuously monitor whatever they are doing.”

In addition to the vital signs, in the ICU of the future, a patient’s pain level will be captured through visual cues such as body movement, muscle twitching and facial expressions. Sensors record head and limb movements, posture and mobility.

Parisa Rashidi, PhD, a biomedical engineer at the University of Florida, explained, “It will help the physicians and nurses monitor the patients, and to also to predict the trajectory of the patients in the ICU.”

Computer algorithms analyze the data flowing from the patient and their room.

“Those are the algorithms that help you predict who is going to get sicker in the next three, four, five hours,” Dr. Bihorac said.

Giving a continuous look into exactly how a patient is doing even when a nurse or doctor isn’t in the room.

Dr. Bihorac also said, “There are like multiple humans observing the patients at the same time and then bringing that information in summarized form to the doctors.”

Up to 50 percent of ICU patients experience delirium. Now, researchers are using AI techniques to look at everything from light levels, noise, and perhaps even odor. Preliminary data shows that the noise level in an ICU can be as loud as trying to sleep beside a busy street. Reducing nightly disruptions and optimizing light and sound levels are a path to potentially preventing ICU delirium.

The ICU and delirium studies, launched last year, run through 2026. Testing in a clinical setting could begin in three years.

Contributors to this news report include: Marsha Lewis, Producer; Roque Correa, Videographer, Editor.

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REPORT:       MB #5020

BACKGROUND: Artificial intelligence (AI) and related technologies are increasingly prevalent in business and society and are beginning to be applied to healthcare. These technologies have the potential to transform many aspects of patient care, as well as administrative processes within provider, payer and pharmaceutical organizations. Today, algorithms are already outperforming radiologists at spotting malignant tumors, and guiding researchers in how to construct cohorts for costly clinical trials. For widespread adoption to take place, AI systems must be approved by regulators, integrated with EHR systems, standardized to a sufficient degree that similar products work in a similar fashion, taught to clinicians, paid for by public or private payer organizations and updated over time in the field. These challenges will ultimately be overcome, but they will take much longer to do so than it will take for the technologies themselves to mature.


AI IN THE MEDICAL FIELD: Artificially intelligent computer systems are used extensively in medical sciences. Common applications include diagnosing patients, end-to-end drug discovery and development, improving communication between physician and patient, transcribing medical documents, such as prescriptions, and remotely treating patients. While computer systems often execute tasks more efficiently than humans; more recently, state-of-the-art computer algorithms have achieved accuracies which are at par with human experts in the field of medical sciences. Some speculate that it is only a matter of time before humans are completely replaced in certain roles within the medical sciences.


NEW STUDY OF AI AND COVID: A study has comprehensively reviewed the research and development on state-of-the-art applications of artificial intelligence for combating the COVID-19 pandemic. In the process of literature retrieval, the relevant literature from citation databases including ScienceDirect, Google Scholar, and Preprints from arXiv, medRxiv, and bioRxiv was selected. Recent advances in the field of AI-based technologies are critically reviewed and summarized as well as various challenges associated with the use of these technologies are highlighted. The comparison between various machine learning (ML) and deep learning (DL) methods, the dominant AI-based technique, mostly used ML and DL methods for COVID-19 detection, diagnosis, screening, classification, drug repurposing, prediction, and forecasting, and insights about where the current research is heading are highlighted. Recent research and development in the field of artificial intelligence has greatly improved the COVID-19 screening, diagnostics, and prediction and results in better scale-up, timely response, most reliable, and efficient outcomes, and sometimes outperforms humans in certain healthcare tasks.



Doug Bennett


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Doctor Q and A

Read the entire Doctor Q&A for Azra Bihorac, MD, professor of medicine, surgery, anesthesiology, and practicing intensivist

Read the entire Q&A