"Some risk factors will be already apparent for physicians, but others aren't intuitive," Horne said.
A trauma patient, for example, may look completely healthy apart from his or her injury, but if the risk score uncovers an irregular red blood cell distribution, or the fact they have anemia, it could increase that person's risk of dying.
"It's a standard part of the CBC test, but it's not usually taken into consideration when treating a patient with injuries," Horne said. "Based on the findings of our research, it's something that should be looked at as part of the care plan model."
The idea could lead to new treatment approaches, in addition to giving physicians a better understanding of a patient's condition for more effective long-term care, which is a priority set forth in the Affordable Care Act.
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