BLOG: Using Medical Records to Prepare Doctors and Patients for Difficult Conversations

Now more than ever, clinicians can access an incredible amount of data about their patients. Electronic health records (EHRs) offer a massive repository of information about each individual: notes of all kinds, laboratory results, imaging data, scanned forms, and saved images. Soon, we may even be able to add data from wearable devices such as personal fitness trackers into the mix. However, this breadth of information can be both a blessing and a curse. Clinicians can learn more about their patients from the medical chart than was previously possible—but only if they are able to rapidly and accurately sort through that information and find the most relevant points for a given clinical encounter.

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“We Should Agree That Hackers Are the Immune System of the Internet”

Eric Perakslis, PhD, DCRI’s Chief Science & Digital Officer, will present at DEF CON 2021 in a talk called “Truth, Trust, and Biodefense.” Learn more about his presentation in his blog post for the DCRI below:

“On May 12, 2017, a ransomware cyberattack known as WannaCry was launched. Within a day, it was raging worldwide and had infected tens of thousands of computers and electronic devices belonging to the United Kingdom’s National Health Service, causing severe disruptions to hospital operations. Shortly after 15:00 UTC on May 13, the infection was halted when information security researcher and hacker Marcus Hutchins discovered and exploited a “kill switch” embedded in the malware’s code. In addition to greatly slowing WannaCry’s spread, this kill switch also prevented infected computers from being encrypted and their data locked.  Marcus Hutchins’ story is notably complex, but there is no denying that his actions greatly decreased the global harm that likely would have otherwise occurred. The term hacker often brings to mind a faceless, hooded figure that is ubiquitously linked to crime. Given how pervasive this image is, it may surprise some to learn that there are many “good” hackers. This distinction is made especially clear in the viral TED Talk given by cybersecurity Keren Elazari titled “Hackers: the internet’s immune system.” In this talk, Elazari argues that hackers make the internet stronger by testing its defenses, which forces the internet to adapt, improve, and strengthen, not unlike the body’s adaptive immune system.

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Duke AI Health Director Pencina Quoted in Article Spotlighting Predictive Clinical Algorithms

Portrait of Duke AI Health Director Michael Pencina, PhD

Duke AI Health Director Michael Pencina, PhD, who is a professor of biostatistics and bioinformatics at Duke and serves as the medical school’s vice dean for data science and information technology, was recently quoted in an article appearing in STAT News examining the use of commercially developed predictive algorithms in medicine. In an investigative report for STAT News, correspondent Casey Ross spoke with employees in multiple health systems across the country that use clinical algorithms created by Epic, one of the nation’s largest electronic health record vendors.

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Duke +Data Science End of Semester Wrap-up, Spring 2021

Duke+DataScience (+DS) is a Duke-wide educational initiative devoted to expanding knowledge of and facility with machine learning and other artificial intelligence tools across multiple academic fields, including the arts, humanities, and social sciences as well as medicine and quantitative sciences. With an extensive and growing curriculum that includes both online and in-person courses in neural networks, natural language processing, deep learning, and other machine learning applications, +DS offerings span learning needs ranging from novice to expert and are tailored to specific academic and professional applications.

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Duke Machine Learning School Concludes Summer 2021 Virtual Offering

Duke’s +Data Science (+DS) recently concluded its 2021 Machine Learning Virtual Summer School (MLvSS). This event, the ninth machine learning school held since 2017, sold out more than a month in advance and completely filled a 100-person waitlist. This high demand reflects both the substantial demand for instruction in methods driving the rapid growth in artificial intelligence, as well as a keen interest in tapping into high-quality instruction from Duke teachers with expertise in the mathematics and statistics that underlie modern machine learning methods.

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Duke AI Health and +Data Science Launch Successful Proposal Studio Series

Keeping up with the pace of research in health data science is challenging at the best of times, and the COVID-19 pandemic has not made things any easier. For this reason, Duke AI Health and the Duke +Data Science (+DS) program worked together this spring to launch the Proposal Studio Virtual Learning Experiences (vLE). The Proposal Studios sessions were designed to help investigators develop effective, successful proposals for research project involving health data science. From March through April of 2021, +DS held four successful proposal studios, assisting 13 investigators to develop scientific proposals. Open to anyone within the Duke community, the series attracted a total of 129 attendees and averaged 32 audience members per vLE.

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Duke Rheumatologists Explore the Effects of a Rapid Transition to Telemedicine During the COVID-19 Pandemic

The COVID-19 pandemic has prompted a surge in demand for telehealth services, but many questions about how healthcare providers can adapt their practice to meet the challenges of telemedicine remain to be answered. Now, a group of rheumatologists at Duke University School of Medicine have used data drawn from the Duke University Health System’s EHRs (electronic health records) to investigate how a rapid transition to telemedicine affected their approach to patient care.

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Learning to DANNCE

A group of neuroscientists and machine learning experts are developing new ways to analyze animal movement and behavior to gain insights into the inner workings of the nervous system. Combining expertise from the disciplines of neurobiology and artificial intelligence, a team of researchers from Duke University, Harvard, MIT, Rockefeller University, and Columbia University have developed a system that captures detailed, multiple-view video of animals in their natural environment, and then uses data from those video images to build a detailed model of how the animal moves. This allows scientists to use movement and behavior as a window into brain function.

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Duke AI Health’s Ursula Rogers Presents at AMIA

Ursula Rogers, senior informaticist with Duke Forge and AI Health, recently presented a poster at the American Medical Informatics Association (AMIA) 2021 Virtual Informatics Summit. The poster, “Enabling Data Liquidity for Health Data Science: A Suite of APIs for EHR Data” discusses an ongoing partnership between the Duke Health Technology Solutions (DHTS) Analytic Center of Excellence and AI Health. 18 application programming interfaces (API) have been developed to provide efficient and secure programmatic access to electronic health record (EHR) data for machine learning.

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Duke +DS Student Spotlight: Harshavardhan Srijay at the AMIA 2021 Virtual Informatics Summit

Since it was declared a global pandemic in March 2020, COVID-19 upturned university and college campuses across the United States, causing major disruption to student life. As Duke’s campus went into a full lockdown following a steep uptick in COVID-19 infections in North Carolina last spring, Duke’s Harshavardhan (Harsha) Srijay, a 19-year-old second-year undergrad student majoring in math and data science, saw his plans for the 2020 summer crumble. As prior opportunities fell through the cracks, the Duke Plus Data Science (+DS) Advanced Projects summer program provided him a platform to not only be engaged and productive through a very difficult summer, but also come out of it with a successful project that he recently presented at the American Medical Informatics Association (AMIA) 2021 Virtual Informatics Summit(link is external).

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