Magazine article USA TODAY

The Doctor's Computer Will See You Now

Magazine article USA TODAY

The Doctor's Computer Will See You Now

Article excerpt

Machine learning--the same computer science discipline that helped create voice recognition systems, self-driving cars, and credit card fraud detection--drastically can cut the cost and improve the quality of health care in the U.S., research from Indiana University, Bloomington, has discovered.

Using an artificial intelligence framework, School of Informatics and Computing researchers Casey Bennett and Kris Hauser show how simulation modeling that understands and predicts the outcomes of treatment could reduce health care costs by more than 50% while also improving patient outcomes by nearly 50%.

This ongoing work by Hauser, assistant professor of computer science, and Ph.D. student Bennett improves upon their earlier work that showed how machine learning could determine the best treatment at a single point in time for an individual patient.

By using a new framework that employs sequential decisionmaking, the previous single-decision research can be expanded into models that simulate numerous alternative treatment paths out into the future; maintain beliefs about patient health status over time even when measurements are unavailable or uncertain; and continually plan and replan as new information becomes available. In other words, it can "think like a doctor."

"... The system [can] deliberate about the future, considering all the different possible sequences of actions and effects in advance, even in cases where we are unsure of the effects," Bennett explains. …

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