‘Smart’ EHR taps AI to guide not just info retrieval but also treatment planning

AI developers have worked with experts in human-computer interaction to design an EHR that shows clinicians all information pertinent to the patient case they’re working on—and only that information.

The Boston-based team, made up of researchers at MIT and Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center, contrast their innovation with conventional EHRs, which typically “store historical information on separate pages and list medications or lab values alphabetically or chronologically, forcing the clinician to search through data to find the information they need.”

The quote is from a news report on the work published Sept. 23 in MIT News. The researchers are slated to present their full study next month at a virtual meeting, the Association for Computing Machinery’s Symposium on User Interface Software and Technology.

To design an EHR that would benefit doctors, the researchers had to think like doctors, writes MIT News reporter Adam Zewe.

“Driven by artificial intelligence, this ‘smart’ EHR automatically displays customized, patient-specific medical records when a clinician needs them,” Zewe writes.

The system, dubbed MedKnowts, also automatically populates patient-info fields and completes clinical terms, adding efficiency to EHR review processes.

The research paper’s lead author, MIT graduate student Luke Murray, tells the outlet that MedKnowts is “a closer match to the way doctors think about information.”

A lot of times, doctors scanning medical records will subconsciously rely on intuition or familiar thought patterns, Murray suggests. They might peruse a medications page, for example, and focus on the drugs that are relevant to the current conditions.


We are helping to do that process automatically and hopefully move some things out of the doctor’s head so they have more time to think about the complex part, which is determining what is wrong with the patient and coming up with a treatment plan.”

Read the whole thing.

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