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Can computers save health care? IU research shows lower costs, better outcomes
Date:2/11/2013

New research from Indiana University has found that machine learning - the same computer science discipline that helped create voice recognition systems, self-driving cars, and credit card fraud detection systems - can drastically improve both the cost and quality of health care in the United States.

Using an artificial intelligence framework combining Markov Decision Processes and Dynamic Decision Networks, IU 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 over 50 percent while also improving patient outcomes by nearly 50 percent.

The work by Hauser, an 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 decision-making, 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/re-plan as new information becomes available. In other words, it can "think like a doctor."

"The Markov Decision Processes and Dynamic Decision Networks enable the system to 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 said.

Moreover, the approach is non-disease-specific - it could work for any diagnosis or disorder, simply by plugging in the relevant information.

The new work addresses three vexing issues related to health care in the U.S.: rising costs expected to reach 30 percent of the gross domestic product by 2050; a quality of care where patients receive c
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Contact: Steve Chaplin
stjchap@iu.edu
812-856-1896
Indiana University
Source:Eurekalert  

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