Smart health: decisions, decisions, decisions

The trouble with healthcare is that it’s becoming ever more expensive: new drugs, new treatments, more patients, the ever-increasing time needed with experts. Smart healthcare might be able to help.

Cover of cs4fn issue 27 on smart health - a spiders web covered in droplets of dew

We want everyone to get the care they need, but the costs are growing. Perhaps computer scientists can help? Research groups worldwide are exploring ways to create computing technology to improve healthcare, and intelligent programs that can support patients at home, helping monitor them and make decisions about what to do.

For example, say you are on powerful drugs to manage a long term illness: should you have the vaccine? Can you have a baby? Is a flare up of your disease about to hit you and how can you avoid it? Is that new ache a side effect of the drugs? Do you need to change medicines? Do you need to see a specialist?

If smart programs can help support patients then the doctors and nurses can spend more time with those who actually need it, hospitals can save on expensive drugs that aren’t working, and patients can have better lives. But what kind of technology can deliver this sort of service?

In the current issue of cs4fn magazine, we explore one particular way being developed on the EPSRC funded PAMBAYESIAN project at Queen Mary University of London, based on an area of computing called Bayesian networks, that might just be the answer. We also look at other ways computers can help deliver better healthcare for all and other uses of Bayesian networks.

We will be blogging each article here over the coming days or you can download Issue 27 of the cs4fn magazine on Smart Health here and read it all now.

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This post and issue 27 of the cs4fn magazine have been funded by EPSRC as part of the PAMBAYESIAN project. UK schools that subscribe will be sent copies in the coming weeks.

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