Dr. Parsons was selected this year to address the topic of artificial intelligence as it applies to shoulder replacement. This invitation is based on his experience in helping to refine the Active Intelligence platform, currently being offered by Exactech, Inc. (Gainesville, FL), for whom Parsons serves as a consulting surgeon. Active Intelligence uses machine learning algorithms applied to a large database of shoulder replacement outcomes which have been collected on over 10,000 patients for the past 16 years. These algorithms, in turn, allow surgeons to predict outcomes and complication rates for individual patients based on input features such as age, gender, diagnosis, overall health status, preoperative function and a history of prior surgery. Called Predict+, this tool can also inform surgeons and patients on how to potentially improve outcomes and lower risks of surgery by optimizing inputs that can be modified in advance of surgery. The goal of these solutions is to provide a patient-specific picture for each case that can paint a realistic picture of what patients can expect after surgery in terms of pain relief and function.
Artificial intelligence is rapidly growing in healthcare as a more accurate way of analyzing large amounts of data and seeing relationships that conventional statistical methods may miss. Algorithms can “learn” as they analyze and effectively become better predictors over time. These algorithms will eventually be applied to other inputs like imaging studies and intra-operative surgical navigation. This will ultimately help surgeons decide the optimal implant configuration and placement for any given patient to improve postoperative outcomes.
Parsons’ experience in this novel field has been recognized by this invitation to NESES to present on Artificial Intelligence and shoulder replacement. NESES is an annual gathering of the leading shoulder and elbow surgeons in New England to discuss advancement in the field of shoulder surgery. Parsons is a founding member of this group and has presented annually at this meeting since its inception.