San Antonio/ Science, Tech & Medicine
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Published on May 22, 2024
San Antonio’s Groundbreaking Initiative, Accelerating Trauma Care with AI Advances, Funded by Texas LegislatureSource: Unsplash/ Steve Johnson

In a significant boost for healthcare, San Antonio researchers have secured funding to kick-start a new program using artificial intelligence (AI) to speed up trauma response decisions. According to FOX San Antonio, the grant funded by the Texas Legislature could be a game-changer, potentially reducing the decision-making window for trauma responders and saving lives in the process.

Professor Brian Eastridge of UT Health San Antonio, the principal investigator for the program, emphasized the critical nature of decision timing in trauma cases. "That was funded by the...Texas Legislature last year, really to look at some of the fundamental problems, specifically for the state of Texas," Eastridge told FOX San Antonio. Time is of the essence with conditions such as strokes and cardiac disease, where minutes can mean the difference between life and death. Such research could dramatically impact various medical conditions if the AI-driven program shows promising results.

Jesse Perez, Stroke Coordinator at North East Baptist Hospital, has already witnessed the benefits of integrating AI into their workflow. The hospital's adoption of VIS-AI has substantially sped up the interpretation of brain blood vessel images, as Perez detailed in a statement obtained by FOX San Antonio. The optimism surrounding AI's potential extends beyond the brain to include applications for the heart and lungs, hinting at an ambitious expansion of AI use in healthcare settings.

Parallel to this, a collaboration involving UTSA and UT Health San Antonio has received a $1 million financial injection from the Trauma Research and Combat Casualty Care Collaborative to pursue AI in trauma care. A paper published in the National Center for Biotechnology Information cited by the collaborative underscores the urgency in trauma care, with every minute impacting survival rates. The iRemedyACT program spearheaded by researchers from the institutions such as Amina Qutub, Brian Eastridge, MD, and Alan Cook, MD, aims to harness AI for improved clinical decisions and personalized trauma care, as reported by UTSA Today.

Dr. Cook explained how historical trauma data have driven research and better patient outcomes, the team's focus is now shifting to enhance pre-hospital care. Part of the project will track injury scenes to pinpoint hotspots for targeted interventions, which could accelerate emergency response times. Meanwhile, Amina Qutub expressed pride in advancing AI methods in the field of trauma, with recent FDA approvals highlighting the growing relevance of AI applications in medical emergencies.

With an end goal of refining the Texas Trauma System, this push towards AI-aided medicine is part of a broader initiative at UTSA. The university's interim vice president for research, JoAnn Browning, noted in a statement to UTSA Today that such interdisciplinary exploration is pivotal to improving patient outcomes, placing UTSA at the frontier of AI research in healthcare.