On my way back to Boston from this year’s Society of Critical Care Medicine conference, I cannot stop reflecting on the first time I attended this meeting back in 2015. It was in Phoenix, Arizona, a nice break from the cold Boston weather, just two weeks before the Super Bowl was held there. Besides the Patriots winning another Super Bowl, so much has changed between 2015 and 2019.
Back in 2015 no one at SCCM was talking about predictive analytics, data science, or artificial intelligence. This type of talk was confined to small, almost fringe conferences that were a better forum for engineers than clinicians. Our VP of Sales, Gary Gallant, and I were the odd men in, the outsiders, who as Gary put it, were there to evangelize, to spread the good word of predictive analytics and its power to help clinicians avoid patient harm. From the conference halls to the hotel bars, armed with a healthy dose of blissful ignorance about the hard path ahead of us, we were trying to meet as many people as possible and talk about the magical future when computers would be aggregating data to find the needle in the haystack: the early signs hidden in the avalanche of ICU data that can predict patient deterioration. “If we can predict it, you can prevent it” was our story and it was a hard idea to pitch with no track record and predictive analytics that were fresh off the drawing board.
In 2019, it is a revolutionary story. It is impossible to listen to a talk about the future of critical care without hearing about Big Data Analytics, Deep Learning, or Artificial Intelligence. The question is no longer whether one can find the needle in a haystack; but rather which needles they’d like to focus on: be it predictors of cardiac arrest, extubation failure, sepsis, or fluid responsiveness.
We are also not the outsiders anymore. Installed in some of the best hospitals worldwide, we now have a track record of improving patient care, alleviating clinicians’ workload, and reducing costs; our 2015 vision has come to fruition. At this year’s SCCM, we didn’t need to find believers in hallways or bars; they came to us. Our booth was filled with existing customers eager to learn about Etiometry’s next release and their friends strategizing how to bring the benefits of the Etiometry Platform to their own institutions.What has been accomplished in the past four years is inspiring; but we wouldn’t have been here without our early advocates… the visionaries who believed in our seemingly quixotic quest and brought us into their ICUs on the promise of beginning a revolution in the practice of critical care. Thank you, early adopters! You have our promise that our current success together is just the beginning.