First-of-a-Kind Technology to Help Doctors Care for Premature Babies



    IBM and University of Ontario Institute of Technology Collaborate With
    Canadian Hospital to Help Predict Changes in Infants' Condition

    ARMONK, NY and TORONTO, July 23 /CNW/ - IBM (NYSE:   IBM) and the
University of Ontario Institute of Technology (UOIT) announced today a
first-of-a-kind research project to help doctors detect subtle changes in the
condition of critically ill premature babies.
    The project will see a group of internationally recognized researchers,
led by Dr. Carolyn McGregor, a UOIT associate professor and Canada Research
Chair in Health Informatics, use advanced stream computing software developed
by IBM Research to work toward greatly enhancing the decision-making
capabilities of doctors. The software ingests a constant stream of biomedical
data, such as heart rate and respiration, along with environmental data
gathered from advanced sensors and more traditional monitoring equipment on
and around the babies.
    The researchers will also use the software to apply findings from
Dr. McGregor's body of research to help make "sense" of the data and, in
near-real-time, feed back the resulting analysis to health-care professionals
so they can predict potential changes in an infant's condition with greater
accuracy and intervene more quickly.
    Physicians in neonatal intensive care units (NICU) at Toronto's Hospital
for Sick Children and two other international hospitals are participating in
the study.
    Monitoring "preemies" as a patient group is especially important as
certain life-threatening conditions such as infection can be detected up to
24 hours in advance by observing changes in physiological data streams.
    The type of information that will come out of the research project is not
available today. Currently, physicians monitoring preemies rely on a
paper-based process that involves manually looking at the readings from
various monitors and getting feedback from the nurses providing care.
    "This research has the potential to greatly impact neonatal care through
reduced mortality and morbidity rates and overall health-care costs," said
Dr. McGregor. "By merging our research and technology, we are able to collect
more detailed patient data in a systematic manner, do online health analysis
and decision support, and get advanced early warning of emerging patterns that
could predict a medical event."
    When fully developed, IBM's software will be capable of processing the
512 readings per second generated by some of these medical devices and UOIT
researchers will further test and develop its ability to analyze these vast
quantities of data in real time.
    Initially researchers will use NICU medical devices in UOIT's
state-of-the-art Health Informatics Laboratory to test IBM's software using
simulated patient mirroring data. Then the software will be tested using
de-identified actual patient data. The de-identified data is recorded in a way
that enables researchers to alter some variables, play it back and run
simulations for further study.
    IBM awarded Dr. McGregor access to the prototype software patented by
researchers at its T.J. Watson research facility in New York under its First
of a Kind program, which is designed to accelerate the delivery of innovative
technologies to the market and link IBM's research work to real world
problems.
    "Right now, there is an enormous amount of critical data produced by
machines monitoring patients," said Don Aldridge, business executive for IBM
research and life science. "That creates a challenge. The ability to quickly
analyze that data and make informed decisions will help improve the overall
quality of health care."

    About IBM

    For more information on IBM, visit www.ibm.com.

    About UOIT

    For more information on UOIT, visit www.uoit.ca.





For further information:

For further information: Media contacts: For IBM: Leslie Plant, IBM
Public Relations, Direct: (416) 478-9840, Mobile: (416) 526-5647,
laplant@ca.ibm.com; For UOIT: Tony Doyle, Media and Communications, Direct:
(905) 721-8668 ext. 2209, tony.doyle@uoit.ca


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