New algorithm identifies patients in need of end-of-life discussions

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New algorithm identifies patients in need of end-of-life discussions

por John R. Fischer, Senior Reporter | October 31, 2019
Artificial Intelligence Rad Oncology

Researchers at Mount Sinai Hospital recently attempted to address this dilemma with the creation of a program that teaches clinicians how to speak to heart failure patients about these subjects, encouraging techniques such as open-ended questions, and how to respond to patients’ emotions during conversations about serious conditions.

"Advance care planning conversations are difficult, emotionally charged, and can often be long," said Goldstein. "In general, while communication is being taught in medical training programs, many doctors in practice today may not have received formal training. That's why there are new tools that have been developed to help make advance care planning easier for patients and their families."

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Penn researchers have deployed the algorithm at a medical center not part of the original study to see if identifying the best patients for conversations actually prompts doctors to open up those discussions. The researchers are currently working on a randomized controlled trial involving around 100 clinicians that will last between three and six months.

The algorithm developed at Penn Medicine is based on a similar tool called Palliative Care for facilitating these discussions between oncologists themselves and patients in outpatient settings. Its use was found to increase consultations by 74 percent.

The findings were presented at the American Society of Clinical Oncology (ASCO) Supportive Care in Oncology Symposium in San Francisco and published in JAMA Network Open.

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