San Diego/ Science, Tech & Medicine
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Published on January 23, 2024
AI Lifesaver at UC San Diego: COMPOSER System Slashes Sepsis Deaths by 17%Source: Google Street View

In a significant leap for medical technology, a study from the University of California San Diego School of Medicine has revealed a groundbreaking AI surveillance tool that successfully predicts sepsis, with the potential to save lives. The AI model, tabbed COMPOSER, was put to work in emergency departments at UC San Diego Health and has reduced sepsis-related mortality by a substantial 17%. Details were published today online edition of npj Digital Medicine.

Dr. Gabriel Wardi, part of the brains behind the AI and chief of the Division of Critical Care at the school of medicine, explained how COMPOSER operates behind the scenes, watching every patient for early signs of sepsis. “It works silently and safely behind the scenes, continuously surveilling every patient for signs of possible sepsis,” Wardi said in a statement obtained by UC San Diego Health News.

COMPOSER's monitoring starts when a patient is checked in, as it tracks over 150 variables, including lab results and medical history. When high risk indicators, the system alerts nurses through the hospital's electronic health record. Consequently, they can review and strategize prompt treatment with physicians, assuring a rapid address of a sepsis diagnosis before it worsens.

More than 6,000 patient admissions were reviewed in the study before and after the AI went live. Adopting advanced deep-learning models, the AI acts as a failsafe for identifying possible health concerns that could go unnoticed by human analysis, asserted Dr. Shamim Nemati, one of the study's co-authors and an associate professor of biomedical informatics. “The system can look at these risk factors and develop a highly accurate prediction of sepsis. Conversely, if the risk patterns can be explained by other conditions with higher confidence, then no alerts will be sent,” Nemati said, according to UC San Diego Health News.

In the constant pursuit of integrating technology with healthcare, UC San Diego Health has not held back, illustrating this with their recent creation of a chief health AI officer role and establishing the Joan and Irwin Jacobs Center for Health Innovation. They have also introduced a pilot program where an AI-driven system generates empathetic message responses to ease the workload on healthcare professionals. Dr. Christopher Longhurst, a pivotal figure at UC San Diego Health, highlighted the importance of this technological integration, "UC San Diego Health has been a leader in this space to ensure AI-powered solutions support high reliability in patient safety and quality health care."

Funding for the study sprang from various sources including the National Institutes of Health and the National Library of Medicine. The study's results are now a foothold for further infiltration of AI in other in-patient units and the UC San Diego Health East Campus.

While the study illuminates a promising horizon for digital medicine, there is also a disclosure note regarding possible conflicts of interest. Some co-authors of the study are co-founders of Healcisio Inc., a startup aimed at commercializing decision support tools. However, it was noted that the company was formed following UC San Diego's conflict of interest policies.