Professors Hauser and Natarajan receive NSF grant


Assistant professors Kris Hauser and Sriraam Natarajan received a $680,000 grant from the Smart and Connected Health program of National Science Foundation, which will enable the duo to explore artificial intelligence methods for learning and optimizing treatments using large electronic health record datasets.

“We see huge potential for artificial intelligence to help doctors’ decision making by helping them understand the patterns in vast amounts of health data. Our new techniques will crunch that data to learn how diseases respond to different treatments, and then suggest treatment plans that maximize patient outcomes and minimize costs,” said Hauser.

Decision support tools have the promise to give clinicians better understanding of treatment outcomes and costs by integrating billions of electronic health record data points with expert recommendations and best practices. Their research aims to advance the state-of-the-art in artificial intelligence for decision support that can reason about patient-specific treatment plans. They plan to provide a unified computational foundation for recommending optimal action plans – including both diagnosis and intervention actions – for treating chronic disease, multi-step and adaptive treatments, and long-term health habits.

This research blends Natarajan’s research interest in probabilistic models with Hauser’s work in decision theory.

“We’re collaborating with several doctors and clinics in this project to make sure that the system can work with multiple chronic diseases, make clinically-relevant suggestions, and explain its reasoning to a human,” added Hauser.

The goal of the Smart and Connected Health (SCH) Program is to accelerate the development and use of innovative approaches that would support the much-needed transformation of healthcare from reactive and hospital-centered to preventive, evidence-based, person-centered and focused on well-being rather than disease. Learn more about SCH.

The National Science Foundation is an independent federal agency created by Congress in 1950 "to promote the progress of science; to advance the national health, prosperity, and welfare; to secure the national defense." Visit NSF’s website to learn more.

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