Navigation Links
Online tool aids clinicians' efforts to treat injured workers

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
University of Alberta

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:
(Date:11/4/2015)... --> --> ... Transparency Market Research "Home Security Solutions Market - Global Industry ... 2022", the global home security solutions market is expected to reach ... market is estimated to expand at a CAGR of ... Rising security needs among customers at homes, the emergence ...
(Date:10/29/2015)... Va. , Oct. 29, 2015 Daon, ... today that it has released a new version of ... customers in North America have ... IdentityX v4.0 also includes a FIDO UAF certified ... are already preparing to activate FIDO features. These customers ...
(Date:10/29/2015)... NEW YORK , Oct. 29, 2015 /PRNewswire/ ... wearable technology, announced a partnership with 2XU, a ... accessories, to deliver a smart hat with advanced ... runners and other athletes to monitor key biometrics ... of the strategic partnership, the two companies will bring ...
Breaking Biology News(10 mins):
(Date:11/30/2015)... , Nov. 30, 2015  Northwest Biotherapeutics (NASDAQ: ... developing DCVax® personalized immune therapies for solid tumor cancers, ... an additional independent director, and the Company welcomes ... allegations in a recent anonymous internet report on NW ... initiatives. Linda Powers stated, "We agree ...
(Date:11/27/2015)... PA (PRWEB) , ... November 27, 2015 , ... ... Technical Program that includes over 2,000 technical presentations offered in symposia, oral ... chemistry and applied spectroscopy, covers a wide range of applications such as, but ...
(Date:11/25/2015)...  PharmAthene, Inc. (NYSE MKT: PIP) announced  today that ... plan (Rights Plan) in an effort to preserve the ... Section 382 of the Internal Revenue Code (Code). ... of its NOLs could be substantially limited if the ... 382 of the Code. In general, an ownership change ...
(Date:11/25/2015)... , Nov. 25, 2015 /PRNewswire/ - Aeterna Zentaris Inc. ... its business and prospects remain fundamentally strong and ... (zoptarelin doxorubicin) recently received DSMB recommendation to continue ... following review of the final interim efficacy and ... Primary Endpoint in men with heavily pretreated castration- ...
Breaking Biology Technology: