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Computer takes pharmacist’s place


A UK engineering team has scooped the top prize at a health awards ceremony for creating a computer system which advises doctors how to treat patients after major heart surgery.

The device, an artificial intelligence programme used to administer drugs after heart bypasses, was built by a group from the University of Sheffield and Sheffield Teaching Hospitals NHS Trust.

It works by monitoring the vital signs of patients and recommending precise infusion rates based on this information every 20 seconds.

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The machine was designed and built by Dr Jonathan Ross, Professor Mahdi Mahfouf and Dr Mouloud Denai.

Dr Ross said: “This is the first study in the world to demonstrate in a clinical trial the ability for a computer, knowing nothing about the specific patient except what data is shown on the routine monitoring, to suggest to an expert the drugs and infusion rates required for precise control of the cardiovascular system.

“This will mean patients get more individual, tailored care in future, and potentially staff will be freed up from this task for other aspects of care, or maybe to treat more patients simultaneously. There’s great potential for delivering more healthcare for the same money with this technology.”

Copyright Press Association 2010
University of Sheffield
Sheffield Teaching Hospitals NHS Trust

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