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CHIMERA examines anonymised data from 40,000 patients to develop a better understanding using mathematical modelling of how people’s physiology changes during ill health and recovery.

This new understanding will in turn provide new ideas for how critically ill patients can best be cared for. 

Professor Rebecca Shipley (UCL Mechanical Engineering), Director of UCL Institute of Healthcare Engineering and co-lead of CHIMERA, said: “This is a unique opportunity to apply new tools in machine learning and mathematical modelling to a rich, unused dataset, helping to improve care for the people who need it most.”

CHIMERA’s partner hospitals store data collected every few seconds from monitors for patients in intensive care, such as heart rate, blood pressure, oxygen levels and temperature. Only a brief snapshot of this data is used to inform decisions around patient care at the moment.

Researchers at CHIMERA will analyse this complex array of data using tools from data science and machine learning, and then use this to develop new mathematical models of how our body is behaving during ill health and recovery, with the aim of improving care.

Dr Steve Harris (UCL Medicine), consultant in critical care at UCLH said: “There is a huge range of patient data that clinicians are currently unable to use. The numbers generated by monitors are influenced by a host of factors and we do not have the tools to make sense of them fully.

“With a wider view of the patient’s state from the full electronic health record, and with modern machine learning and data science tools, we believe we can see the signal through the ‘random’ noise to generate better outcomes for patients.”

Professor Mark Peters (UCL Institute for Child Health), a paediatric intensive care consultant at GOSH, said: “Clinicians rely on a brief snapshot of patient data to inform their decisions about care. Much of the information we collect is therefore left unused.

“With CHIMERA, we can fully investigate this extensive dataset, looking at trends over time and the relationships between different variables. As well as allowing more meaningful use of the data, it may enable us to personalise our care, tailoring it to individuals.”

Professor Christina Pagel (UCL Mathematics), Director of the Clinical Operational Research Unit and co-lead of CHIMERA, said: “Making full use of the data requires a completely multidisciplinary approach, with data scientists and computer scientists working alongside mathematicians, clinicians and engineers."