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Doctors Rely on More Than Just Data for Medical Decision Making

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Human doctors provide a dimension that, so far, artificial intelligence does not.

A study from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology suggests human doctors provide a dimension to diagnosis that, so far, artificial intelligence cannot.

Credit: Chelsea Turner, MIT

Massachusetts Institute of Technology researchers analyzed doctors' written notes on intensive-care-unit (ICU) patients, and found the doctors' "gut feelings" about a specific patient's condition played a significant role in determining how many tests they ordered for the patient.

The researchers came to this conclusion by performing sentiment analysis on doctors' notes. Sentiment analysis is based on computer algorithms that examine written language and count positive or negative sentiments associated with words used in the text.

The research team performed the analysis on the MIMIC database, a collection of medical records from 60,000 ICU patients admitted to Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center in Boston over a decade.

The analysis found that when doctors felt more pessimistic about a patient's condition, they ordered more testing, but only up to a point; if they felt very negatively about the patient's condition, they ordered fewer tests.

From MIT News
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