Are the robots taking over? The role of machine learning and AI in tackling infectious diseases

I attended a brilliant seminar at Imperial College last week on the role of machine learning and artificial intelligence (AI) in infectious management, and to a lesser extent, infection prevention and control. There’s so much potential for this exciting technology to revolutionise the way we identify, treat, and prevent the spread of infectious diseases. But, there’s also some risks – some are already asking whether the robots are taking over, and whether that is an entirely good thing!

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How a bundle kills Cochrane – or not?

Nice paper this week in JAMA Internal Medicine. How to treat patients hospitalized with Community-Acquired Pneumonia (CAP)? Antibiotics, sure, but can you do more to improve outcome and shorten length of stay (LOS)? You could choose any of 4 evidence-based interventions, that, according to (Cochrane) meta-analyses, improve patient outcome. Or decide to include all 4 in a bundle, as the Australian investigators did. And then the bundle fails to provide benefit and increases harm. Valentijn Schweitzer and I tried to explain. Continue reading

How a bundle kills Cochrane – or not?

Nice paper this week in JAMA Internal Medicine. How to treat patients hospitalized with Community-Acquired Pneumonia (CAP)? Antibiotics, sure, but can you do more to improve outcome and shorten length of stay? You could choose any of 4 evidence-based interventions, that, according to (Cochrane) meta-analyses, improve patient outcome. Or decide to include all 4 in a bundle, as the Australian investigators did. And then the bundle fails to provide benefit and increases harm. Valentijn Schweitzer and I tried to explain. Continue reading

It (the flu) came from the desert

We tend to find that the flu season in Australia is an early predictor for the severity of the coming flu season in the Europe. And the early indications are the flu in Aus this year is bad – unprecedentedly bad. So, let’s get our flu vaccination campaign planning hats on!

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What does good surgical wound closure look like?

I love and hate SSI prevention in equal measure. On the one hand, we have good evidence and strong guidelines around SSI prevention – but on the other hand, implementing these interventions to prevent SSI can be enormously tricky in practice. One key factor in preventing SSI is creating a well-closed wound in theatre. Surprisingly, there’s precious little data on how to measure what a well-closed surgical wound looks like. This qualitative study presents some potential indicators to measure good surgical wound closure in order to prevent SSI.

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