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CloudMedx And Barrow Neurological Institute (Dignity Health) Collaborate To Create New Predictive Analytics Tools For The Management Of Patients With Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis (ALS)

January 3, 2019

PALO ALTO, Calif., Jan. 03, 2019 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) — CloudMedx, a healthcare AI company that provides real time and actionable insights to the healthcare industry, today announced its collaboration with the Gregory W. Fulton ALS Center at Barrow Neurological Institute Phoenix, Arizona to help track progression of disease with patients identified with ALS in order to predict treatment outcomes. CloudMedx will create new algorithms using data from Dignity Health and other sources with the goal to identify better predictors of disease progression and survival which can then lead to more rapid therapy development. An additional goal is to provide patients with certain treatments that are personalized to them and to help them during the disease management phase. At this point, most of the techniques doctors use are subjective and there is a lot of variability in treatment due to patients conditions, comorbidities, and other risk factors. This in addition to the fact that little is known about the disease and its progression is one of the reasons doctors at the Barrow Neurological Institute Phoenix are trying to see if an augmentative approach where AI learns from data and provides strong signals to humans for the betterment of patient outcomes. The goal is to optimize on treatments in an AI assisted manner which is data driven.

According to the ALS Association, “It is estimated that more than 20,000 Americans may be living with ALS at any given time. ALS occurs throughout the world with no racial, ethnic or socioeconomic boundaries and can affect anyone.” And it is always a fatal disease. The rate of progression of this disease is also very variable which makes treatment plans very arduous and time consuming. With the help of AI tools, the teams aim to develop new models to detect this disease early on and predict outcomes.

CloudMedx is working with Shafeeq Ladha, MD, and his team at Barrow to create a new class of algorithms that can predict patient risks, treatment plans, and outcomes based on data from the electronic health record, labs, and radiology as well as other sources. The teams will analyze both structured and unstructured data that is coming out of patient medical records as well to get a better handle on patient outcomes using predictive analytics and big data.

Dr Ladha states that, “As a heterogenous disease that varies greatly from patient to patient, ALS poses numerous challenges to clinicians seeking better treatments. For instance, it may be difficult for the non-ALS specialist to diagnose leading to long delays in diagnosis because ALS can mimic other more common diseases. This impacts our ability to treat people earlier in the disease. Additionally, the unpredictability in rate of progression makes designing clinical trials challenging. If one group in the trial turns out to have a much higher number of rapidly progressing patients, the entire trial can become invalid. Our goal in working with CloudMedx is to see if we can identify clinical features that will help us identify patients earlier and improve our ability to predict the course of their disease. If we can accomplish this goal, it will translate to better care and more rapid treatment development.”

According to Dr. Ladha, working with CloudMedx will provide them with insights into their own data and help improve workflows around clinical insights as well as patient treatment options and planning. Most of this work is currently done manually and adds to administrative burden. Some of this heavy lifting may be done by a technology that can assist physicians in this decision-making process. Currently, there is universal approach to patients with ALS. However, it is clear that multiple factors such as rate of progression, degree of breathing muscle involvement, family history and where in the body the disease began can impact the decision-making process. The goal of this collaboration is that with the help of AI, additional things can be identified and added to clinical workflows in an augmentative manner so that time critical decisions can be made efficiently.

According to Tashfeen Suleman, CEO of CloudMedx, “We are excited to embark on this journey with The Barrow. Using AI assistive tools that may become part of the clinician’s workflows may give them augmentative tools that help in the critical decision-making process, especially for near fatal diseases like ALS. This collaboration has the potential to improve delivery of care for patients suffering from ALS and their family members. Our hope is that with the tools available to us, we can find ways to improve this process and bring about a positive change in a collaborative manner with The Barrow.”

There is a lot of data that is involved in this decision-making process. In addition, research has shown that 80% of data that is stored in electronic health records and clinical workflows is untapped. This is a huge treasure trove of information on patients available in the medical records and it is being overlooked due to lack of time and resources. Most of the data stored in EMRs are unstructured in nature in the form of physician notes, nurse progress notes, discharge summaries, radiology notes, PROs and sensors that are not taken into account when dealing with patients. CloudMedx aims to reduce these burdens by reading through those notes using machine assisted natural language processing and surfacing the insights and risks in real time along with actionable insights so that care providers can act fast.

About Barrow Neurological Institute at Dignity Health St. Joseph’s Hospital and Medical Center
Barrow Neurological Institute at Dignity Health St. Joseph’s Hospital and Medical Center in Phoenix is internationally recognized as a leader in neurosurgery, neurology, neurological research and patient care. Consistently voted among the top facilities in the United States for neurological care, Barrow treats patients with a wide range of neurological conditions, including brain and spinal tumors, cerebrovascular conditions, concussions and neuromuscular disorders. Its surgeons perform more neurosurgeries annually than any hospital in the nation. St. Joseph’s is a member of Dignity Health, one of the nation’s largest health care systems. For more information, please visit

About CloudMedx
CloudMedx is a “Clinical AI Platform” that provides real time clinical insights to the healthcare industry with the goal of improving clinical outcomes. The company uses evidence-based algorithms, machine learning and natural language to sift through both unstructured data as well as structured data to help providers and health systems to improve care delivery, reduce costs, and optimize their workflows. For more information, please visit,