Through modern technologies such as self-driving cars or voice assistants, artificial intelligence (AI) is making its way into public view. AI systems are computers or machine learning systems that can learn from information to predict outcomes, make human-like decisions, and solve problems. Research is now examining ways that AI can be used in life-saving contexts, such as disaster relief or health care. For example, recent research explored how AI could use an algorithm to predict risk of worsening health and reduce ER visits among the older adult population.
Researchers conducted a trial of their predictive AI system in order to examine feasibility of use and accuracy in predicting health risks. This system involved home aides entering information about their patients’ health into a smartphone app after each home visit. For this trial, the aides entered information from over 2,600 visits among 206 older adult patients. This data was then processed by an AI system that analyzed an individual’s risk of an ER visit within a two-week period and gave alerts for high-risk patients. Based on these alerts, health interventions were then administered to older adults in need of assistance. After this trial, the researchers found that these interventions were associated with a lower rate of ER visits. They also found that the alerts were highly accurate, and that home aides found the system easy to use and understand.
Additional research will be vital to further validate this system and explore other ways that AI could improve the health care system. This field of research is especially vital given rising health care costs and staff shortages. Even based on this preliminary trial, there is no doubt that AI is changing the face of health care as we know it, and the future of AI may hold exciting new possibilities to improve the health of older adults.
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Belmin, J., Villani, P., Gay, M., Fabries, S., Havreng-Théry, C., Malvoisin, S., Denis, F., & Veyron, J.-H. (2022). Real-world implementation of an eHealth system based on artificial intelligence designed to predict and reduce emergency department visits by older adults: Pragmatic trial. Journal of Medical Internet Research, 24(9). https://doi.org/10.2196/40387