Adelaide-based AI tool set to change hospital bed management

Researchers based at The Queen Elizabeth Hospital have developed an innovative AI algorithm that accurately predicts when general surgery patients are ready to be discharged from hospital. 

The “Adelaide Score” could help hospitals worldwide free up limited bed spaces and reduce pressure on emergency departments. 

A global problem

Managing the flow of patients in and out of hospital is a major challenge for hospitals.  

With each patient having unique circumstances, preparing them for discharge can be complicated, according to Dr Joshua Kovoor, researcher and Resident Medical Officer at The Queen Elizabeth Hospital. 

“A lot of organisational work is put in behind the scenes by a variety of healthcare staff members so that every patient can be discharged safely.

“For patients, usually some coordination with family or friends is needed before they go back home. Using the Adelaide Score to predict possible discharge will allow healthcare staff and patients to start these processes earlier, making a patient’s transition out of hospital smooth for all,” he said.

Data revolution

By studying the hospital stays of nearly 9,000 South Australian general surgery patients, Dr Kovoor, Dr Stephen Bacchi, Professor Guy Maddern, and their colleagues have developed an algorithm which has an impressive prediction accuracy rate of over 80 per cent. 

The Adelaide Score uses data like vital signs and blood test results, so it can be adaptable for use in any hospital, potentially delivering significant cost and time savings. 

The tool would revolutionise how patient flow is managed and could potentially be integrated into existing records, including within the Electronic Medical Record that is used at Central Adelaide Local Health Network. 

Using artificial intelligence, the Adelaide Score can be further trained to become even more accurate the more it is used. 

“This type of approach has great potential. Following implementation studies, AI predictions may become a routine source of information that healthcare professionals and administrators can use to inform decisions.” said Dr Bacchi. 

The Adelaide Score has been made possible thanks to collaboration by researchers with a wide variety of specialisations. They include Dr Joshua Kovoor, Dr Stephen Bacchi, Dr Aashray Gupta, Dr Brandon Stretton, Dr James Malycha, Dr Benjamin Reddi, Prof Danny Liew, Prof Gerry O’Callaghan, Prof John Beltrame, Prof Andrew Zannettino, Prof Karen Jones, Prof Michael Horowitz, A/Prof Christopher Dobbins, Prof Peter Hewett, Dr Markus Trochsler, and Prof Guy Maddern.