By Sabriya Rice | Modern Healthcare | October 10, 2015
In 2012, a preteen entered the emergency department at Children's National Medical Center in Washington, D.C., with a high fever, weight loss and diarrhea. The attending pediatrician suspected a rare, travel-related infectious disease, as the child had just been in Southeast Asia.
Specialists combed through the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention website for health alerts from the region. They ran tests. All came back negative.
Only after two days did the hospital turn to a diagnostic decision-support software program called Isabel. Once a clinician typed in the child's symptoms, a list of potential conditions popped up within seconds.
The specialists quickly realized their initial mistake. “Biased by the patient's travel history, we didn't consider a pretty straightforward diagnosis,” recalled Dr. Paul Manicone, associate chief of the hospitalists division for Children's National Health System. Isabel directed the team's attention to hypothyroidism, a condition they had overlooked.