The team at Stanford created an algorithm which was fed the health records from roughly 2 million patients from two hospitals. The algorithm learned to estimate mortality with the following three to months.

Research scientist and lead author of the study, Ken Jung, told Newsweek that their goal is to help better inform palliative care specialists. This will help more patients make important decisions that impact how their death will be handled and prepare their families for life without them.

“All too often, advanced illness turns to a medical crisis, and patients end up in the ICU. There, events can attain a momentum of their own, resulting in increasingly aggressive interventions that do not serve patients and their families well,” he said.

As IEE Spectrum reports, normally palliative care specialists wait until a patient is recommended to them by a primary care medical team. But that recommendation is normally delayed in favor of aggressive medical procedures designed to prolong their lives.

However, the algorithm flips the process around so that the palliative care team can proactively contact a patient or their family when they are nearing an end of life situation. According to Spectrum, the project was the brainchild of Stephanie Harman, an internal medicine physician and founding medical director of Palliative Care Services for Stanford Health Care. Read more from…

thumbnail courtesy of