Tsatsoulis presents data mining work in Iceland

Lawrence,Kansas (10-09-2002)

From ITTC News
By Michelle Ward

Prof. Costas Tsatsoulis attended an invitation-only patient safety workshop in Iceland this September. The conference, organized by United States and United Kingdom health care organizations, focused on preventive procedures for medical personnel. Organizers asked Tsatsoulis to present his work in data mining blood incidents. While most incidents are benign, like forgetting to perform a step during blood generation, others can be life threatening, such as giving someone the wrong type of blood or blood that is infected with HIV or hepatitis. Tsatsouliss data mining tools can assess the frequency of these mistakes from the harmless to the dangerous, providing health care workers with potentially life-saving information.

In recent years many studies have shown that there is a very large number of medial errors that happen daily, and which cause patients to spend more time in the hospital or even suffer permanent injuries, said Tsatsoulis, the director of ITTCs Intelligent Systems and Information Management (ISIM) Laboratory. Because of this, the reporting of medical errors is attracting a lot of interest from the medical community, the regulatory agencies and even Congress. Our work at ITTC helps organize and analyze medical incident reports, making them useful tools in the study of the operations of medical organizations, and is putting us in the forefront of the use of informatics in the field of patient safety and event reporting.

With this project, funded through the National Institutes of Health, Tsatsoulis has created artificial intelligence or data mining software that analyzes volumes of information and identifies similar recurring problems. The ability to recognize problem clusters can help medical personnel address persistent issues and avoid them, making it safer for patients receiving blood transfusions.

This same intelligence gathering could prove beneficial in broader issues of patient safety, which Tsatsoulis highlighted at the conference. With mandatory reporting of incidents in the UK and a push for mandatory reporting in the United States, the number of reports agencies receive may make it difficult to identify problem clusters, Tsatsoulis said. Thus, the workshops organizers, the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality in America and its counterpart in the UK, the Patient Safety Research Program, sought out Tsatsouliss data mining tools.

The electrical engineering and computer science professor also sat on a variety of panels, gaining a wider exposure for his work and ITTC. Tsatsoulis said that most of the major participants in safety research attended the conference, and the workshop may have brought Tsatsoulis a new sponsor for an additional data mining project. He has begun talks with the UK agency and expects to be working with the Patient and Safety Research Program in the near future.

For more information, contact ITTC.

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