Artificial intelligence (AI) technologies are increasingly used in pediatrics and have the potential to help inpatient physicians provide high-quality care for critically ill children.
We aimed to describe the use of AI to improve any health outcome(s) in neonatal and pediatric intensive care.
PubMed, IEEE Xplore, Cochrane, and Web of Science databases.
We used peer-reviewed studies published between June 1, 2010, and May 31, 2020, in which researchers described (1) AI, (2) pediatrics, and (3) intensive care. Studies were included if researchers assessed AI use to improve at least 1 health outcome (eg, mortality).
Data extraction was conducted independently by 2 researchers. Articles were categorized by direct or indirect impact of AI, defined by the European Institute of Innovation and Technology Health joint report.
Of the 287 publications screened, 32 met inclusion criteria. Approximately 22% (n = 7) of studies revealed a direct impact and improvement in health outcomes after AI implementation. Majority were in prototype testing, and few were deployed into an ICU setting. Among the remaining 78% (n = 25) AI models outperformed standard clinical modalities and may have indirectly influenced patient outcomes. Quantitative assessment of health outcomes using statistical measures, such as area under the receiver operating curve (56%; n = 18) and specificity (38%; n = 12), revealed marked heterogeneity in metrics and standardization.
Few studies have revealed that AI has directly improved health outcomes for pediatric critical care patients. Further prospective, experimental studies are needed to assess AI’s impact by using established implementation frameworks, standardized metrics, and validated outcome measures.