“Ambient intelligence” monitoring to prevent medical errors, send alerts

Stanford’s Fei Fei Li, Arnold Milstein and albert Haque have developed AI and sensor based “ambient intelligence” protocols to prevent medical errors and improve outcomes.

Applications include alerting clinicians and visitors when they fail to sanitize their hands before entering a hospital room; monitoring the elderly for behavioral clues of impending health crises; prompting caregivers, remotely clinicians and patients to make life-saving interventions.

Milstein believes that “we are in a foot race with the complexity of bedside care.” He noted that clinicians in a hospital’s neonatal intensive care unit took 600 bedside actions, per patient, per day and hat ambient intelligence is necessary as “perfect execution of this volume of complex actions is well beyond what is reasonable to expect of even the most conscientious clinical teams.”

The alert systems are being tested to see if they can reduce the number of ICU patients who get nosocomial infections.

In one experiment, a tablet near the door shows a solid green screen that transitions to red when a hygiene failure occurs.

A thermal sensor above an ICU bed would enable the detection of twitching or writhing beneath the sheets, and alert clinical team members.

Constant monitoring by ambient intelligence systems at home could detect clues of serious illness or potential accidents, and alert caregivers to make timely interventions, such as when frail seniors start moving more slowly or stop eating regularly.