Machine learning accelerates digital transformation at leading hospital in Saudi Arabia

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Machine learning and artificial intelligence (ML and AI) have been at the heart of the King Faisal Specialist Hospital & Research Center (KFSH & RC) response to the COVID-19 pandemic in Saudi Arabia, accelerating a journey of digital transformation in course from the beginning. from 21st century.

The rapid development of a highly integrated COVID-19 digital support machine learning platform, using predictive analytics to optimize hospital operational response and patient care delivery, has been an experience that has game-changer for the organization – and in particular, for health information technology. (HIT) led by IOC Dr Osama Alswailem.

“The hospital, as an organization, is moving from ‘smart’ systems to ‘smart’ systems,” says Alswailem. “Before the pandemic, we were already moving from interoperability, data warehousing and simple analytics to more machine learning projects, from genomics to 3D printing. When COVID happened, we shifted our focus from the defined use cases we had to a platform that could use real-time, multidimensional data to enable targeted organizational decisions. “

Adapting to the uncertainties of a rapidly developing pandemic required a platform that could be integrated with all internal and external operational and clinical functions, including the hospital’s Integrated Clinical Information System (CIHI), providing Real-time data to healthcare providers and administrators so that decisions could be created and resources such as beds and devices allocated based on the latest knowledge.

“We took the entire supply chain and integrated it into the COVID platform, from drugs, personal protective equipment (PPE) to ventilators – we even brought our research ventilators into the pipeline just in case. they would be needed – for rapid testing and 3D printing for face shields, ”says Alswailem. “This has allowed the supply chain to make the best decisions based on demand, quantity and price at the two facilities in Jeddah and Riyadh. “

Combat painful areas

The platform provided 92% predictive model accuracy – a significant contribution to some important results: zero sentinels, drug stock, PPE, bed, ventilator, and staff shortage incidents. “We integrated staff workflows so we could see who was trained and could be transferred from their respective departments to the ICU, who was in quarantine or in isolation, and created a contact tracing solution by self-study. Since then, we have added vaccination data to find out how many staff are not vaccinated and we have targeted these groups through social media campaigns as we have now achieved a 99% vaccination rate. .

Other initiatives include a scenario-based capacity tool that measures the Reff COVID-19 rate; who predicts how many people will be infected due to each positive case related to government restrictions, curfews, etc. “We are very proud of all the work that has gone into building this platform, which has led to innovation in many other areas of the organization,” says Alswailem.

“We were able to do this thanks to the support of the management of KFSH & RC and our unique approach to HIT, which is company-led rather than a back-office function. Our HIT team is made up of doctors, nurses, pharmacists, lab supervisors – we all speak the same language as the healthcare industry. As of 2019, we have a clear plan on how to advance our use of AI and machine learning, with a primary focus on patient experience, medical imaging, applied personalized medicine, diagnostics. clinics and prognosis.

Alswailem says that by addressing ‘painful areas’ rather than just using out-of-the-box technology, KFSH & RC was able to achieve significant achievements: integrating analysis of Arabized sentiments around public use of social media in its prediction models; for absences from appointments and targeted reminders; genetic disease and cancer prediction; and the micro-genomics feeding patient information to aid in diagnosis and treatment.

This is also tied to Saudi Vision 2030, in which healthcare is a major focus, and the hospital is leading the way by sharing the knowledge and experience it gains throughout the digital transformation process, at levels national and regional.

CIHI Virtual Upgrade

KFSH & RC’s 30-year relationship with Cerner – the final step of which was a virtual CIHI upgrade in the summer of 2020 – has been a critical part of the hospital’s digital transformation. “Much more than just software,” says Alswailem, “the partnership has created a great wealth of knowledge, expertise and solutions and has been strengthened by the continuous cycle of change management and technology adoption” .

“It’s interoperability that brings the workflow together, the constant generation of data has become one of the organization’s greatest assets,” he says. “I think we’re getting to the point where people can just ask for research-related data, and that’s taking a few hours compared to a few months ago.”

Alswailem says there are three critical areas in which the system has improved the delivery of healthcare across the hospital: interoperability, patient engagement and the advent of a new model of patient care. .

“The interoperability of EMRs has changed the way health care is delivered,” he says. “Getting patient information without the layers of delay, planning length of stay and improving coordination of care between providers. Too many people were involved in the care of a patient and thanks to organizational interoperability, we noticed a major difference.

“Having the patient as a positive and interactive member of the healthcare delivery process rather than just a passive receiver would never have been possible without the patient center that sits above the EMR – much more than a portal. It was very evident during COVID that the patient felt involved, knew that care was available and that they could contact their provider, and we could see the results and impact of their treatment on their quality of life. “

AI model of patient experience goes live

The patient experience AI model went live in March 2021 and achieved a predictive model accuracy of 87%, allowing to examine 693 separate patients in total and take 3,840 actions to improve patient experience.

“A new model of patient care would never have been possible without this technology, whether it is genome research and having access to petabytes of data or simply delivering a targeted message to the physician at the good time. But it’s not just information to help the doctor talk to the patient, it’s a solution that continues from the previous session and looks to the next, knowing what’s going to the lab, what’s going to the pharmacy and all. throughout the patient journey.

Alswailem says we are in a unique era for healthcare, in which technologies of all kinds enable models of care that deliver value to the patient. As a doctor, he suggests, nothing has driven behavior more than his smartphone, which constantly monitors his blood sugar. From IOMT (Internet of Medical Things), virtual / augmented reality to 3D printing, the horizon continues to widen.

The hospital’s digital transformation journey has been a flagship project, leading the way in Saudi Arabia and the Middle East, and has won numerous KFSH & RC awards for innovation achieved under the influence of Alswailem. But he is quick to point out that this is not a one-man show.

“This recognition is the result of a journey that the hospital has undertaken over the past three decades,” he says. “During this time, the focus shifted from day-to-day operations to transforming healthcare delivery. This meant that our response to the pandemic would be strategic and calculated. And now we have a duty to share our information and technology in ways that improve healthcare for all people. “


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