Bellvitge will study the application of artificial intelligence in the treatment of Covid-19 in ICUs

  • The Intensive Medicine Service participates, through IDIBELL, in the European ENVISION project, funded by the Horizon 2020 program
  • IDIBELL is the only center in Spain that takes part in this initiative, endowed with nearly five million euros and integrating a total of 19 research centers from 13 countries
Unitat de Cures Intensives de l'Hospital de Bellvitge 1

The Intensive Medicine Service of the Bellvitge University Hospital (HUB) participates, through the Bellvitge Biomedical Research Institute (IDIBELL), in the European ENVISION project, which will develop an intelligent decision support system to improve the monitoring and treatment of patients with Covid-19 in ICUs.

IDIBELL is the only Spanish center that is part of the project, which integrates, in total, 19 research centers from 13 European countries. The project, which has the financial support of the European Union’s Horizon 2020 research and innovation program with 4.9 million euros, will start on December 1 and will last until July 31, 2022.

The researchers will start from an existing real-time data monitoring application to turn it into a complex intelligent system to support the follow-up and treatment of patients with Covid-19 in ICUs. To do this, the tool will integrate data from healthcare monitoring instruments, physiological changes, crucial medical events and medications administered during intensive care and will submit them to a data analysis system directed by artificial intelligence with predictive modeling tools and a functionality smart alert.

This instrument will be validated in the ICUs of the 12 clinical centers participating in the project. If its usefulness is verified with good clinical results, the predictive models develped will also be available in the future for other ICU patients and even for less serious patients.

Due to the rapid and often changing health conditions of Covid-19 patients, ICU healthcare professionals face the difficult challenge of maintaining close control of patients, predicting possible changes in their health status and making necessary interventions as soon as possible.

We hope that, with this technological support, ICU professionals will be able to make more precise, faster and more informed decisions for the benefit of a better prognosis for patients,” says Dr. Rafael Máñez, one of the study leaders and head of the Intensive Medicine Service and researcher at IDIBELL. “So far there have been no miracle drugs, no new technologies or major advances in Covid-19 treatment strategies. Improvements we are currently seeing are a consequence of the fact that health professionals are improving supportive treatment for patients, especially to the extent that ICUs are not so saturated. Therefore, -adds Dr. Máñez- all processes must be optimized, and the combination of artificial intelligence with the doctor’s criteria can help us make the best decision for each patient, and in a faster way ”.

At the present time, more than 50 million confirmed cases and more than one million deaths worldwide are good evidence of the tragic course of the SARS-CoV-2 coronavirus infection since it was reported on December 31, 2019 for the first time to the WHO the appearance of a pneumonia of an unknown cause. Approximately 10% of those affected who are admitted to the hospital are treated in the ICU and the majority are over 65 years of age and present comorbidities, so interventions in critically ill units are one of the important fronts in the fight for reduce the impact of the pandemic on the overall health of the population.

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