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Mount Sinai Health System Named 2024 Hearst Health Prize Winner

Hearst Health and the UCLA Center for SMART Health awarded the 2024 Hearst Health Prize to Mount Sinai Health System. Mount Sinai Health System was declared the winner for a machine learning application called NutriScan AI that facilitates faster identification and treatment of malnutrition in hospitalized patients. The $100,000 award was presented by Gregory Dorn, M.D., president of Hearst Health, during UCLA Health Data Day on June 4.

“Receiving the Hearst Health Prize not only acknowledges our efforts and provides resources to further this work, it creates a platform for us to share our learnings, which can hopefully speed advancements in other areas of care,” said David L. Reich, M.D., president of The Mount Sinai Hospital and Mount Sinai Queens. “The development of screening tools like NutriScan AI is just one example of how artificial intelligence is enabling providers to operate more efficiently but the possibilities are endless.”

Malnutrition is a highly prevalent condition that often goes undiagnosed in hospitalized patients and can significantly impact their path to recovery. The condition is associated with increases in mortality, morbidity, risk of complications and length of hospital stay. While early identification and treatment with nutritional support can prevent or reverse malnutrition, standard screening tools lack accuracy, resulting in missed opportunities for intervention.

Mount Sinai Health System started a clinical data science team to develop a more reliable malnutrition screening tool (WATCH VIDEO). Working with an extensive historical cohort of data, the team used over 80 variables to build a model that significantly outperformed the traditional rule-based model used in standard screening tools. Integrating directly within the electronic health record, NutriScan AI offers a precise method to identify patients in whom a diagnosis is likely to be present. This enables registered dieticians to prioritize visits with these patients to confirm a diagnosis and initiate treatment.

Since 2019, Mount Sinai Health System has deployed NutriScan AI in six hospitals, resulting in improved registered dietician resource utilization, a sustained increase in the malnutrition diagnosis rate, and a consistent financial return on investment. Mount Sinai Health System is now approximately 2.5 to 3 times more likely to identify malnutrition, contributing to increased reimbursements for the hospital and higher quality ratings on observed-to-expected outcomes.

Dorn said, “It’s imperative that healthcare leaders keep pace with the myriad of ways AI can be used to advance care. Mount Sinai Health System is a shining example of an organization that has successfully implemented AI to solve a pervasive problem. By spotlighting projects that demonstrate the practical application of AI, we hope the broader healthcare community will be encouraged to consider new ways AI can be integrated into their workflows to positively impact health outcomes.”

The 2024 Hearst Health Prize competition attracted a diverse set of applications from across the U.S., which were evaluated by UCLA reviewers and an expert judging panel. The Mount Sinai Health System program received the highest combined score across six evaluation criteria, with particularly high rankings for demonstrated health impact and operational and financial sustainability.

Alex Bui, Ph.D., UCLA professor and co-director of the UCLA Center for SMART Health stated, “What stood out to me about Mount Sinai Health System’s submission was their solid data science approach, ability to demonstrate clear health benefits with outcome data that was generalizable, and their plan to ensure sustainability and scalability for the long haul.”