From small to scale: Tiny babies and the big impact of AI

At the world’s largest analytics conference, April 28-May 1 in Dallas, SAS and its customers shared real-world examples of the impact of advanced analytics, AI and machine learning, computer vision, natural language processing and more. SAS also offered training to data scientists, business executives, and students and professors as they seek to transform a world of data into a world of intelligence.

“There’s a renewed focus on data and analytics today, driven by increased computing power, a more connected world, and powerful technologies like AI and machine learning,” said SAS CEO Jim Goodnight. “Our challenge is to make use of all data to solving the biggest issues. SAS provides analytics for every kind of user that’s open to all the technologies they have. And these powerful analytics that can help them anywhere, in any business, and scale to the size of any problem.”

One of the areas where analytics can have great impact is healthcare. Around 10% of all infants are born prematurely, and these tiny children are very vulnerable to infections. To monitor their health, these babies are connected to many devices.

With 10 years of anonymized Neonatology Intensive Care Unit (NICU) patient data, University Medical Center Utrecht in the Netherlands started a Big Data for Small Babies project with a goal to use advanced analytics, machine learning and AI techniques to proactively treat or even prevent infections in premature babies.

Using AI and advanced analytics from SAS, the UMC Utrecht team analyzed the historical data from NICU devices and developed a smart analytical model to predict infections in premature babies. This included sepsis, a severe and often life-threatening blood infection. The model powered by SAS is 90% accurate in forecasting the presence of bacterial infections that can cause sepsis. This is significantly higher accuracy than doctors’ predictions based on a patient’s exams and current symptoms.

“With the power of SAS AI and advanced analytics, UMC Utrecht doctors and nurses can make the best possible decisions for their tiny patients, delivering life-saving treatment to some, while avoiding unnecessary antibiotics for others,” said Daniel Vijlbrief, MD, Neonatologist at UMC Utrecht.

These capabilities and more were demonstrated at this year’s SAS Global Forum, the world's largest analytics conference, with more than 30,000 business and IT users of SAS software participating on-site and online.

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