Review by Dr. Patrick Tighe Published in JAMA Surgery

Congratulations to Associate Professor of Anesthesiology Patrick Tighe, MD, MS, for having his review Artificial Intelligence and Surgical Decision-Making published in JAMA Surgery in December. Dr. Tighe collaborated with colleagues from the departments of Surgery, Medicine, Biomedical Engineering, Computer and Information Science and Engineering, and Electrical and Computer Engineering.



Surgeons make complex, high-stakes decisions under time constraints and uncertainty, with significant effect on patient outcomes. This review describes the weaknesses of traditional clinical decision-support systems and proposes that artificial intelligence should be used to augment surgical decision-making.


Surgical decision-making is dominated by hypothetical-deductive reasoning, individual judgment, and heuristics. These factors can lead to bias, error, and preventable harm. Traditional predictive analytics and clinical decision-support systems are intended to augment surgical decision-making, but their clinical utility is compromised by time-consuming manual data management and suboptimal accuracy. These challenges can be overcome by automated artificial intelligence models fed by livestreaming electronic health record data with mobile device outputs. This approach would require data standardization, advances in model interpretability, careful implementation and monitoring, attention to ethical challenges involving algorithm bias and accountability for errors, and preservation of bedside assessment and human intuition in the decision-making process.

Conclusions and Relevance

Integration of artificial intelligence with surgical decision-making has the potential to transform care by augmenting the decision to operate, informed consent process, identification and mitigation of modifiable risk factors, decisions regarding postoperative management, and shared decisions regarding resource use.

Read the full review.