Navigation Links
Online tool aids clinicians' efforts to treat injured workers
Date:12/11/2013

University of Alberta researchers have developed a new web-based tool to aid health professionals in determining the right treatment course for injured workers, helping them feel better and get back to work earlier.

Researchers used a form of artificial intelligence called machine learning to analyze injury and treatment records from Alberta's workers' compensation database to create a tool that recommends an appropriate course of rehabilitation. During early testing, the support tool actually outperformed clinicians.

"The goal of this tool, and all our rehabilitation strategies today, is to be able to help these people feel healthy again, participate in productive work and reintegrate into their jobs as quick as possible," said Doug Gross, an associate professor of physical therapy in the Faculty of Rehabilitation Medicine.

Gross' research is affiliated with WCB-Alberta Millard Health, a provider of occupational rehabilitation and disability management services. Much of his work focuses on finding new ways to ensure workers are physically on the right path to recoveryhealing that also helps their emotional and financial well-being and the economy, he said.

"There are huge costs economically to the workers' compensation system, so we're constantly looking to improve health-care strategies to help these workers transition back to the workplace."

Computer algorithm at core of online tool

Gross teamed up with Osmar Zaane, a professor of computing science in the Faculty of Science, to develop a computer algorithm that predicts a course of rehabilitation.

To do this, Zaane's team relied on information from a provincial database of 8,611 workers who, after undergoing initial treatments, were referred for assessments to determine whether they were ready to return to work. The database contained details about injury types, rehabilitation methods, time between injury and rehabilitation, pain measures and overall outcomes, along with personal information such as age, sex, marital status, education and job status.

"For me, it was an obvious example of the type of approach we can do through machine learning," said Zaane.

Every treatment recommended by the support tool was arrived at through a set of rules created using this historical evidence. "You can trust the tool's recommendations because you know how it made that decision and why."

The tool proved about 85 per cent accurate in recommending the right treatmenta success rate that was more reliable than assessments done by physical therapists, occupational therapists and exercise therapists. When patients are referred for treatments that don't result in a return to work, the machine considers it a mistake, Zaane explained.

Currently, the tool is only being used to train students. Far more testing is required before it makes it into the hands of health professionals, with potential applications to train new staff and use in remote areas. But even then the goal isn't to replace clinicians, Gross said.

"This is about the clinicians making decisions and how we can help augment those decisions," he said. "We all make mistakes and do the best we can. We have different influences on our decisions and biases, and if there are tools out there that can help these health-care providers make better decisions, let's do it."

A study detailing their findings was published in the peer-reviewed Journal of Occupational Rehabilitation.


'/>"/>

Contact: Bryan Alary
bryan.alary@ualberta.ca
780-492-0436
University of Alberta
Source:Eurekalert

Related biology news :

1. A new application allows online statistical analysis of gene-expression data
2. Putting plants online: 4 leading botanical gardens to create first online catalog of all plants
3. Botanical institutions announce plans to create first online World Flora
4. Game on! UCLA researchers use online crowd-sourcing to diagnose malaria
5. MindSpec launches online Autism Reading Room
6. A new type of data papers designed to publish online interactive keys identifying biodiversity
7. Do dolphins think nonlinearly?
8. A charismatic new lacewing from Malaysia discovered online by chance
9. Houston Clean Air Network offering real-time online ozone report
10. GEOLOGY adds 30 new articles online
11. GEOLOGY speeding top science to online platform
Post Your Comments:
*Name:
*Comment:
*Email:
(Date:6/21/2016)... 2016 NuData Security announced today that Randy ... principal product architect and that Jon Cunningham ... development. Both will report directly to Christopher ... reflect NuData,s strategic growth in its product and ... demand and customer focus values. ...
(Date:6/16/2016)... June 16, 2016 The ... expected to reach USD 1.83 billion by 2024, ... Research, Inc. Technological proliferation and increasing demand in ... expected to drive the market growth. ... The development of advanced multimodal techniques for ...
(Date:6/9/2016)...  Perkotek an innovation leader in attendance control systems is proud to announce the ... employers to make sure the right employees are actually signing in, and to even ... ... ... ...
Breaking Biology News(10 mins):
(Date:6/27/2016)... NC (PRWEB) , ... June 27, 2016 , ... ... mission to bring innovative medical technologies, services and solutions to the healthcare market. ... and implementation of various distribution, manufacturing, sales and marketing strategies that are necessary ...
(Date:6/24/2016)... SAN DIEGO , June 24, 2016 /PRNewswire/ ... that more sensitively detects cancers susceptible to PARP ... individual circulating tumor cells (CTCs). The new test ... of HRD-targeted therapeutics in multiple cancer types. ... therapies targeting DNA damage response pathways, including PARP, ...
(Date:6/23/2016)... , June 23, 2016   Boston ... of novel compounds designed to target cancer stemness ... has been granted Orphan Drug Designation from the ... treatment of gastric cancer, including gastroesophageal junction (GEJ) ... inhibitor designed to inhibit cancer stemness pathways by ...
(Date:6/23/2016)... , June 23, 2016  The Prostate Cancer Foundation (PCF) is ... treatments and faster cures for prostate cancer. Members of the Class of 2016 ... countries. Read More About the Class of 2016 PCF ... ... ...
Breaking Biology Technology: