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Computing Power – IBM Watson solving health care challenges

February 10, 2017
B. Dusty Majumdar
From the January 2017 issue of HealthCare Business News magazine
At the HIMSS annual conference this year, organizations and health leaders from across the globe will once again gather to discuss the challenges and opportunities facing our industry. The timing for these conversations could not be better, as 2017 will be a year of profound change – and disruption. This year, the health care industry will face increased regulatory, societal and economic pressures. Clinicians will be challenged to deliver evidence-backed care. Organizations will prepare for a shift to value-based payment models. Researchers will continue their pursuits of scientific breakthroughs.

Many believe that the key to navigating this changing environment is the ability to tap into the potential of “big data” from traditional sources, such as laboratory reports, clinical notes and genomic information, to exogenous data captured beyond the care setting, including socioeconomic details, personal biometric outputs voluntarily provided by patients and environmental factors.

However, in an industry riddled with complexity and uncertainty, professionals still face significant headwinds on their path to progress. It can sometimes seem that the solution is just beyond their reach, hidden under what’s not relevant or behind a door they cannot open. Experts advise that advances in technology, such as sophisticated analytics, cloud solutions and cognitive computing technology are key to helping health leaders:

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• Pursue better results. Move professionals toward evidence-based approaches by enabling them to process and understand more data and allowing them to expand, optimize and potentially personalize care options.

• Scale intelligent care management. Enable leaders to tap into technology to help their teams manage care plans, services and patient engagement across a broader spectrum of health care settings.

• Establish connections. Help professionals better determine appropriate health care services, unlocking previously hidden insights and breaking down information silos.
• Accelerate discovery. Support life sciences companies in their drug development pursuits by helping to improve collaboration among teams, identify new targets for research or arm researchers with data designed to help their teams determine if a medicine can be used in other diseases.

• Achieve heightened confidence. Arm physicians with insights that support and enhance decision making in clinical settings.

• Identify optimal treatment pathways. Enhance efforts for personalized and precision medicine by allowing physicians to compare their patients’ clinical characteristics with millions of other patients worldwide. Together, with IBM Watson Health, health care pioneers are working to tackle today’s health challenges in the areas of:

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