Machine learning and artificial intelligence: Applications in healthcare epidemiology

Alisa J. Hamilton, Alexandra T. Strauss, Diego A. Martinez, Jeremiah S. Hinson, Scott Levin, Gary Lin, Eili Y. Klein

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review


Artificial intelligence (AI) refers to the performance of tasks by machines ordinarily associated with human intelligence. Machine learning (ML) is a subtype of AI; it refers to the ability of computers to draw conclusions (ie, learn) from data without being directly programmed. ML builds from traditional statistical methods and has drawn significant interest in healthcare epidemiology due to its potential for improving disease prediction and patient care. This review provides an overview of ML in healthcare epidemiology and practical examples of ML tools used to support healthcare decision making at 4 stages of hospital-based care: triage, diagnosis, treatment, and discharge. Examples include model-building efforts to assist emergency department triage, predicting time before septic shock onset, detecting community-acquired pneumonia, and classifying COVID-19 disposition risk level. Increasing availability and quality of electronic health record (EHR) data as well as computing power provides opportunities for ML to increase patient safety, improve the efficiency of clinical management, and reduce healthcare costs.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article numbere28
JournalAntimicrobial Stewardship and Healthcare Epidemiology
Issue number1
StatePublished - Oct 7 2021

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Microbiology (medical)
  • Infectious Diseases
  • Epidemiology


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