Heinz Healthcare Informatics Students Impress with Maternity Decision Support System Projects

Carnegie Mellon University students present their project, Machine Learning algorithm for Hemorrhage Risk Classification (from let to right): Corina Paraschiv, Jiaoying Lian, Dong-Lien Lin and Anthony Didonato.

On May 1, Jewish Healthcare Foundation (JHF) and WHAMglobal staff attended the final poster presentations of Heinz College Healthcare Informatics students. Taught by Board of Trustees Member, Rema Padman, PhD, the students engaged in a semester-long project on Healthcare Decision Support Systems (DSS). This year, the theme for all of the students' projects was "Maternal Mortality and Morbidity." In order for the students to learn more about the issue, WHAMglobal staff met with them to describe and help frame the problem, and the Magee-Womens Research Institute shared their data which was used to prototype each DSS. The students then built working predictive models with the intention of receiving hands-on experiences with healthcare DSS applications.

"When you first hear about healthcare-related issues like maternal mortality, you sometimes have that naiveté about possible solutions," said Corina Paraschiv, CSM, current Heinz College student and JHF summer intern. "By working alongside stakeholders in maternal health and reflecting on a complex system-wide view, this project brought us an empowering perspective that no textbook could have."

The students' projects were very impressive. The Decision Support Systems they created included: designing hospital risk prediction models for maternal morbidities during birth and post-partum; creating systems that generate appropriate self-advocacy materials to promote self-awareness for patients at risk for hemorrhaging; predicting emergency cesarean sections; using social factors to classify risk of hypertensive disorders during pregnancy; scoring social determinants of health; and improving birthing methodology decision making. 

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