IBM uses Watson metrics for phones, EHRs

By Healthcare IT News
04:50 PM

As it addresses an "explosive growth of medical information," IBM has expanded its Health Analytics Solution Center – with team members working to increase and improve remote EHR connectivity through new "Watson"-like analytics power.

The Health Analytics Solution Center has worked with more than 150 hospitals, health plans and other healthcare organizations since opening in late 2009. It provides clients access to health analytics experts, technical architects and specialists, with access to hundreds more health industry experts from across IBM.

IBM has doubled the number of healthcare solution architects and technology specialists working at the Solutions Center, tasking them with helping physicians connect smartphones, tablets and other devices to EMRs while also helping healthcare providers build new solutions for remote patient monitoring.

As part of its expansion, the center will also incorporate some of the same sophisticated analytics technology used in Watson, the experimental supercomputer that defeated the two best human contestants on Jeopardy! earlier this year.

[See also: IBM, Nuance to apply 'Watson' analytics to healthcare.]

Advanced analytics is increasingly being used to help healthcare organizations to understand the meaning and context of medical information and gain new insights from the explosion of health data – growing at a rate of 35 percent per year, according to a recent study by Enterprise Strategy Group.

Meanwhile, more than a quarter (27 percent) of specialists and primary care physicians use a tablet PC or similar device nowadays. As clinicians adopt smart devices at five times the rate of the general population, they will increasingly need to connect to EMRs for instant access to patient records in their office, during hospital rounds or on call.

Entering notes and accessing information on small devices with tiny keys can be challenging, however. Physicians may prefer to interact using their phone via text, voice or a combination of both.

Using clinical voice recognition from Nuance Communications and medical terminology management from Health Language, IBM is working to improve the mobile EMR experience through voice recognition and technology that provides understanding of medical text, similar to the way Watson analyzed hundreds of millions of pages of text from books, encyclopedias and periodicals to compete on Jeopardy!

This will allow caregivers to derive more insight from medical notes, exams and pathology reports that now can be evaluated and compared electronically.

[See also: Nuance and IBM collaborate on clinical language understanding .]

By using analytics to determine hidden meaning buried in medical records, pathology reports, images and comparative data, computers can extract relevant patient data and present it to physicians, ultimately leading to improved patient care.

IBM is also expanding its work in remote patient monitoring at the Health Analytics Solution Center, helping hospitals integrate and connect devices from among different manufacturers, enabling patients to be closely monitored from home.

Remote monitoring can be used after a patient leaves the hospital to watch for complications post-discharge. By feeding data such as temperature, blood pressure, pulse oximeter readings – and even noting when medications are taken automatically by an application on a Bluetooth smart phone – a nurse care coordinator can monitor the patient in real-time, allowing patients to recover in a comfortable setting, while still enabling caregivers to take action if needed.

With the rapid adoption of electronic medical records and other health IT applications, the amount of data associated with health care providers in North America is expected to reach close to 14,000 petabytes by 2015. These and other health analytics technologies are designed to help healthcare organizations make sense of the massive volumes of data they generate every day.

More regional news

Want to get more stories like this one? Get daily news updates from Healthcare IT News.
Your subscription has been saved.
Something went wrong. Please try again.