Machine learning in the hospital

This issue also features coverage of aid-in-dying laws and Mayo Clinic's fall 2017 hospital medicine conference in Tucson, Ariz.

If you know anyone who works in the tech sector, you've probably been hearing for a while about how computers are going to take over medicine, as soon as they surpass physicians in clinical decision-making skills. I have, so I thought it was time to check on their progress and find out whether our magazine's audience will be converting from human to robot very soon. The answer, as reported in this month's main story, seems to be no, although many researchers are hard at work figuring out how machine learning algorithms could improve hospital care, from recognizing sepsis to predicting C. diff.

Shifting focus to a very human issue, one of this month's feature articles deals with aid-in-dying laws, which allow physicians to prescribe lethal medications to patients at the end of their lives. The laws are becoming more common despite opposition from some medical authorities, including ACP, so our article looks at their practical and ethical implications.

This issue also includes coverage of Mayo Clinic's fall 2017 hospital medicine conference in Tucson, Ariz., where I learned about the latest in perioperative biomarker measurement and medication management, as well as better strategies for preventing falls in and out of the hospital.

Last but not least, we've got new editions of two reader-written features: Morning Report, which analyzes a fictional hospitalization for lessons about providing high-quality, high-value care, and Brief Case, which includes short factual case studies. Learn more about all of our reader-written sections.

Stacey Butterfield