A Markov decision process embedded with predictive modeling: a modeling approach from system dynamics mathematical models, agent-based models to a clinical decision making



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Kansas State University


Patients who suffer from sepsis or septic shock are of great concern in the healthcare system. Recent data indicate that more than 900,000 severe sepsis or septic shock cases developed in the United States with mortality rates between 20% and 80%. In the United States alone, almost $17 billion is spent each year for the treatment of patients with sepsis. Clinical trials of treatments for sepsis have been extensively studied in the last 30 years, but there is no general agreement of the effectiveness of the proposed treatments for sepsis. Therefore, it is necessary to find accurate and effective tools that can help physicians predict the progression of disease in a patient-specific way, and then provide physicians recommendation on the treatment of sepsis to lower risk for patients dying from sepsis. The goal of this research is to develop a risk assessment tool and a risk management tool for sepsis. In order to achieve this goal, two system dynamic mathematical models (SDMMs) are initially developed to predict dynamic patterns of sepsis progression in innate immunity and adaptive immunity. The two SDMMs are able to identify key indicators and key processes of inflammatory responses to an infection, and a sepsis progression. Second, an integrated-mathematical-multi-agent-based model (IMMABM) is developed to capture the stochastic nature embedded in the development of inflammatory responses to a sepsis. Unlike existing agent-based models, this agent-based model is enhanced by incorporating developed SDMMs and extensive experimental data. With the risk assessment tools, a Markov decision process (MDP) is proposed, as a risk management tool, to apply to clinical decision-makings on sepsis. With extensive computational studies, the major contributions of this research are to firstly develop risk assessment tools to identify the risk of sepsis development during the immune system responding to an infection, and secondly propose a decision-making framework to manage the risk of infected individuals dying from sepsis. The methodology and modeling framework used in this dissertation can be expanded to other disease situations and treatment applications, and have a broad impact to the research area related to computational modeling, biology, medical decision-making, and industrial engineering.



Immunology, Industrial Engineering, Health care management

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Doctor of Philosophy


Department of Industrial & Manufacturing Systems Engineering

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David H. Ben-Arieh; Chih-Hang Wu