The bits 'n' bytes of Intensive Care: data that matters!

Last night Peak 15 held their first meetup for 2017 at the Alfred Medical Education and Research Precinct.

David Pitcher

David Pitcher is an Intensive Care Specialist and chair of the Intensive Care Society Centre for Outcome and Resource Evaluation

David raised the issue of ICU patients fitting into distinct groups, all with their separate issues.There are 150,000 ICU admissions annually in Australia. Just 5% of  patients account for 33% of all the days used in ICU. The overall death rate in Australia of ICU patients is approximately 10%.

Many of the younger people in ICU are admitted for conditions linked to social issues such as drug abuse or trauma.

Another study showed that 6% of ICU admissions were drug-related, these admissions accounted for 5% of total ICU days and approximately 10% of the total ICU budget. The majority of these patients were male, average age of 33 years. 80% were due to drug overdose, 16% were due to drug related traumatic injury.

Approximately one-third of suicide attempts are admitted to medical wards and 5-10 per cent to the intensive care unit.

David Pilcher

“One study showed that trauma accounts for 37% of ICU admissions, the majority being related to road traffic accidents.”

At the other end of the scale, more older Australians are ending up in ICU and they are not always getting appropriate care.

Many of the older people in ICU are admitted after cardiac surgery, with chronic cardiac or respiratory problems and with sepsis post medical intervention. People over 80 now account for 12% of ICU beds in Australia and that figure is rising.

David Pilcher

Around 70% of Australians would like to die at home but over half will eventually die undignified and painful deaths in hospitals.

THE use of intensive-care beds by people over 80 has doubled in just one decade and now accounts for 12 per cent of all intensive-care use in Australia.

David Pilcher

Very sick babies admitted to neonatal ICU’s are generally preterm with very low birth weight (i.e., less than 1500 grams). Common diagnoses are respiratory illnesses and infections.

More that 1 in 10 babies around the world are born premature. The earlier the baby is born and lower the birth rate, the more disabilities the baby may have.

David Pilcher

Recent data show that while the rate of premature babies survival is rising, the levels of subsequent disease and death has not changed.

David Pilcher


We then heard from MassChallange – the most startup-friendly accelerator. They offer a range of incentives including zero equity, a not-for-profit structure and 2 million+ available in equity free prizes.

MassChallange is a global network of accelerators, Boston, London, Jerusalem, Lausanne and Mexico City

They have 1,211 alumni globally, and their stats show that participating in MassChallenge more than doubles a startups likelihood of raising over half a million in funding. The average alumni have raised over 1.8 million. MassChallange are backed by over 100 of the world’s top corporations – PwC, Microsoft, Pepsico, General Electric, IBM, Phizer,  ups, 10 Downing street, P & G, the Kauffman foundation, Verizon and Honda.

Their ecosystem is linked to universities, Angel funding, Business groups, Government, Media and the entrepreneur community.

Apply here.

Priscilla Rogers

The second speaker was Priscilla Rogers, the Senior Manager of the Cognitive Health & Life Sciences Research team at IBM Research, in Australia.

Priscilla Rogers

Priscilla talked about the future of health data:

• Being able to calculate people’s changing health risks over time periods then recommend intervention when risks rose to a critical level. This would allow an earlier diagnosis and more effective treatments

• Combining very different types of data into a cohesive body, from published scientific papers to individual personal stories

• Why IBM’s Watson for oncology is a great example of how artificial intelligence is able to consume a vast amount of data from a wide variety of sources, give accurate real time information and continue to learn and grow over time.

Joe Cain

The third speaker was Joe Cain, Senior Business Development Manager, Philips Population Health Management, ANZ. Joe talked about bringing remote monitoring, teleconferencing and cloud-based analytics to ICU’s in remote areas.

Joe Cain

Hospital in the home has been a very successful model of care, taking patients out of noisy environments and keeping them closely monitored with local nurses and modern technology.

Phillips is using this model to extend hospital-based care services to remote people in ICU’s in areas that have with fewer resources available to treat very sick people. They have successfully developed the model of a Virtual Healthcare Centre, with 1 physician, 3 nurses, 1 admin person and 1 IT support.

Overall it was an excellent meeting. The world of Intensive Care was covered well, from the personal aspect of real patients real stories, to modern data analysis, machine learning and remote Intensive Care, bringing vital health services to people outside western cities.

The next Peak15 meetup will be ‘Cool Tech in HealthTech’, at the Melbourne Convention and Exhibition Centre.


End of care conveyor belt – The Conversation – Kenneth Hillman Professor of Intensive Care UNSW.

The enormous cost we pay for our final days – Julie Robotham – Sydney Morning Herald

Extreme ICU – Science daily – 2016 Drug related admissions to ICU – PubMed 2003 Critical Care stats – The Society of Critical Medicine

Trauma admissions to an Intensive Care Unit – BioMed Central 2011

Premature babies and their problems – Patient UK.

© Wikihospitals 23 February 2017