The fact that there is a shortage of medical professionals around the world, including with nurses, is not a surprise to any regular TrialSite News readers. This shortage extends into the realm of clinical trials as well where nurses are in big demand to help conduct studies. What if, however, there was a “Super Nurse” that could seemingly be nearly ubiquitous—in parallel, monitoring multiple patients in separate rooms across a large hospital? What if this Super Nurse was so advanced that it would be able to pick up on vital signs and pinpointing signs of deterioration before the patient even feels it. Image the productivity gains, the improvement in health outcomes, and the sense of patient engagement. Well, this “medical superhero” is being created right now at Tel Aviv Medical Center—via artificial intelligence (AI), advanced software algorithms, sensors and cameras. The future is here.
This Super Nurse has been in the making in Israel over the past decade via the work of Ahuva Weiss-Meilik and team at the Sourasky Hospital’s I-Medata Center, reports Brian Blum with ISRAEL21c. Weiss-Meilik noted that “Our doctors and nurses can’t be everywhere” and given the chronic shortages of medical professionals worldwide, this is an incredibly powerful breakthrough if the concept can work well in the real-world.
‘Super Nurse’ Study
The hospital is presently undertaking a trial of the continuous monitoring technology with 24 patients in “regular” internal-medicine wards. A formal study, all of the patients have given their consent—after all, they will be under even more intensive care now. In this study, the AI-driven Super Nurse checks patients blood pressure, heart and respiratory rate with sensors, while continuously under the watchful eye of cameras. All data collected by this Super Nurse is collected and streamed to a central viewing station where a sort of staffed central monitoring station keeps a continuous watch over all rooms associated with the study in this prestigious hospital. When there are any change to the patients, alerts are immediately generated to notify the central monitors.
The Cutting Edge
An AI-driven digital central monitor is powerful but not necessarily game changing. However, the I-Medata team is also infusing this Super Nurse with predictive algorithms that can help determine, based on camera and sensor data (e.g. a drop in blood pressure) combined with data generated from the patient’s electronic medical record—as well as aggregate data—the patient’s most probable medical trajectory and whether based on the risk of the situation, if the patient needs extra attention. In this way Weiss-Meilik’s invention can actually react in real time to changing conditions in regard to any one of the participating patients in the study. The AI is supposedly so good that it can sport the deterioration well before any human, or so it is reported in ISRAEL21c.
With 1,500 patients and representing Israel’s largest acute care facility, Tel Aviv Medical Center has an advantage for the development of Big Data-driven systems such as the Super Nurse because it has been at the forefront of collecting patient data in Israel. Any AI-based system for machine learning, etc. requires enormous amounts of trainable data.
Super Nurse Study Part of Israeli Smart Health Ecosystem
As Weiss-Meilik keeps the AI algorithm application development in house, her I-Medata department has partnered with two Israeli startups including AnyVision—which has raised $74 million Series A—(face, body and object-recognition software which powers the cameras) and BioBeat, a Petah Tikva-based venture behind the development of the sensors. BioBeat developed a disposable patch worn on the skin to track vital signs in key areas (e.g. blood pressure, etc.). BioBeat’s Chief Medical Officer Arik Eisenkraft tells ISRAEL21c “Doctors don’t have to measure anything.” Biobeat also BioBeat received U.S. Food and Drug Administration clearance for its cuff-less non-invasive blood pressure monitoring. Apparently, the company has developed a wristwatch device for monitoring vital signs at home reports.
Other areas that has Weiss-Meilik’s group is working on includes AI-developed workflow powered in part by medical imaging startups Zebra Medical and Aidoc —both of which use artificial intelligence to help radiologists quickly identify problems, reports Brian Blum of ISRAEL21c.