Do epilepsy patients accept clinicians using machine learning to support decision making?

Congratulations to Professor Patrick Kwan, who is in one of fifteen research teams awarded a Monash Data Futures Institute Seed grant in the latest 2021 round.

The project will look at understanding the factors and context that affect the acceptance of a machine learning based clinical decision support tool, developed by members of the team, for patients with epilepsy. They will use a novel participatory research design alongside an ethical impact assessment that foregrounds ethical and social implications.

The team is inter- and multidisciplinary. Members include Professor Kwan (Group leader for the Epilepsy and Personalised Medicine research group in the Department of Neuroscience, Central Clinical School (CCS)), Dr Sandy Reeder and  Dr Emma Foster (Department of Neuroscience, CCS) from the Faculty of Medicine, Nursing and Health Sciences, Professor Robert Sparrow and Dr Mark Howard from the Faculty of Arts and Associate Professor Zongyuan Ge from the Monash e-Research Centre.

The team has been awarded $49,420 over a period of 12 months.

Participatory research design is a qualitative research approach in which consumer engagement is adopted into the project design and implementation of clinical studies to facilitate meaningful participation and guide effective outcomes.

Machine learning based clinical decision support tools promise to improve patient outcomes. However, their acceptance by stakeholders has been poorly studied. Failure of clinicians and patients to act on the models’ advice will undermine the benefits these models promise to deliver.

Professor Patrick Kwan said, "Our project will provide crucial pilot data, and proof of method for future work in this field which is currently lacking."

The Monash Data Futures Institute seed grant scheme aims to support artificial intelligence (AI) and data science investments for multidisciplinary research teams addressing globally significant problems around climate change, geopolitical security and thriving communities.

“Congratulations to all the grant recipients - after a very competitive selection process, we are delighted to support these exciting and innovative projects,” said Professor Batstone, Director of the Monash Data Futures Institute.

The CCS Department of Neuroscience, located at the Alfred Hospital site, seeks the inclusion of consumer engagement as a key part of its research activities. It has also recently become part of the scale-up of the Australian Centre of Blood Diseases CARE program, with Dr Bridgette Semple, Dr Loretta Piccenna and Dr Tiffany Rushen joining as department members on the CARE steering committee.

"An important aspect of our research is our partnership with Alfred Health (and as one of the major members of the Alfred Research Alliance) with our shared goal to improve care for patients with neurological diseases as 'patients come first'," said Professor Helmut Butzkueven, Head of the CCS Department of Neuroscience at Monash University and Head of Neurology at Alfred Health.