Data, algorithms and technology: Saving lives in the ICU

By Pritam Potnis

Next-generation healthcare device innovations are providing hospitals with better, more detailed insights that, with the right overview and analytics capabilities, have the potential to save more lives, manage population health in and beyond the hospital, and reduce costs.

An example of this type of innovation is research at a noted hospital network that is leading to the development of advanced algorithms from intensive care unit (ICU) ventilator data to analyze and better understand patient outcomes. So far, these algorithms have been used retrospectively to understand results, specifically whether the patient either improved and recovered, or died.

While the data presents useful analysis for clinicians, it would be far more valuable to use historic and current data to predict outcomes and potentially either save a life or shorten a patient’s length of stay in the ICU. If data provided predictors of patient improvement or patient deterioration through specific indications — for example, being able to anticipate the patient’s ability to breathe without ventilator support — medical personnel could optimize that patient’s time in ICU and predict potential fatalities before they occur. Such breakthroughs demonstrate the art of the possible with scientific innovation.

Getting connected: The benefits of a digital platform

The opportunities for improving health outcomes are immense, but there’s one major barrier: While the hospital system may have the data and the algorithms, it doesn’t have the mechanism or technology to make this happen in a predictive rather than retrospective way.

To move from concept to execution requires a digital health platform that can screen all the data from the ventilators and connect it to an enterprise solution that provides a 360-degree view of the information, then use artificial intelligence and analytics to integrate the algorithms within the solution.

The data and toolsets now exist to bring such innovations to life and potentially save lives. The only question that some in the healthcare industry have at this point is how reliable the tools, techniques and algorithms are. Time and further use will demonstrate the value and reliability of these breakthroughs. For now, progressive organizations will lead the way in advancing health outcomes.

Pritam Potnis is the senior global product manager for DXC’s Open Health Connect solution.  He is part of the core group that developed the solution from concept to market. He’s responsible for providing product management leadership to product teams globally, managing product roadmaps, strategic customer outreach and product positioning and messaging.

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