NUH turns to AI to shorten waiting times for emergency patients

5 months ago 181

SINGAPORE – Knowing ahead of time when there will be a surge of patients at the emergency department and whether there are beds available will allow the National University Hospital (NUH) to allocate manpower easily.

That is why the hospital’s Emergency Department has turned to Pathfinder, an artificial intelligence (AI) project that provides real-time insights into waiting time and bed occupancy rates that can guide staff in decision-making within a chaotic emergency environment.

Pathfinder tracks waiting time and predicts daily patient turn-out “up to seven days in advance”, said National University Health System (NUHS) deputy group chief technology officer Ian Mathews.

Pathfinder is hosted on the health group’s Endeavour AI platform, which provides live medical data of patients across NUHS hospitals and clinics.

While AI helps streamline processes, reduce inefficiencies and improve patient care, “it does not take over”, added Dr Matthews, who is also a senior consultant in the Department of Emergency Medicine at NUH. 

According to the Ministry of Health website, the daily median waiting time for admission at the emergency department of public hospitals was between two hours and 24 hours in the first week of September.

“This project empowers us to make more informed decisions about how best to allocate resources, including manpower, hospital bed utilisation and the coordination of essential support services, such as NUHS@Home programme,” said Dr Matthews.

The NUHS@Home is a programme that offers patients the option of receiving acute hospital care and services at home instead of the hospital.

Also hosted on Endeavour AI is a new AI tool that flags hypercalcemia – high calcium levels in the blood – to doctors in real-time, prompting quicker interventions for patients.

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