Mount Sinai never let up on AI innovation, says Dr. David Reich

The pandemic hasn't slowed Mount Sinai's journey into the artificial intelligence space. Just ask David Reich, MD, president and COO of the New York City-based health system since 2013.

"We have about 10 initiatives in various phases," he told Becker's.

Dr. Reich, an anesthesiologist, previously served as chair of Mount Sinai's department of anesthesiology from July 2004 through March 2014, and president of the medical board from 2011 to 2012.

Dr. Reich said prior to the pandemic, the health system was using AI tools to determine malnourishment among patients.

"We used [AI] during COVID as well during the worst of the spring 2020 crisis. We did some very rapid development of tools to predict who was going to need critical care, who was going to need higher levels of oxygen support and who was going to need dialysis because their kidneys were failing," he said.

The team at Mount Sinai is currently researching the use of AI among patients suffering from delirium during hospital stays, as well as its usage in addressing population health issues and social determinants of health. In October 2021, Mount Sinai announced the launch of the Department of Artificial Intelligence and Human Health, scheduled to open at the end of 2022.

"AI machine learning has been used in many places in our organization to try to identify patients who potentially will not do well," Dr. Reich said. "They might be getting worse with their lung function or heart function, or are at risk for developing a severe infection. And so being able to predict and intervene earlier is another application of that."

The health system is also expanding its transplant research programs. In January, it launched the Institute for Airway Sciences for patients with sinus, laryngotracheal airway and lung diseases. The launch comes one year after Mount Sinai successfully completed the world's first human trachea transplant.  

"I think that as a health system, we share the basic principles that we have to get back to the non-COVID world of continuous improvement of the way we help our community by improving the healthcare we provide."

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