As a way to help those who suffer from Parkinson's disease, and to learn how the disease progresses in patients, IBM and the pharmaceutical company Pfizer are collaborating to create an experimental Internet of Things system to monitor patients and change how clinicians deliver care to them. Approximately 60,000 Americans are diagnosed with Parkinson's disease each year, and 7 to 10 million suffer from it globally, according to the Parkinson's Disease Foundation. This collaboration will allow the companies to develop remote monitoring solutions that will rely on a system of sensors, mobile devices, and machine learning to provide real-time disease symptom information to clinicians and researchers, according to an IBM announcement. Among the goals, the announcement said, is to better understand how patients respond to medicine so doctors can make effective treatment decisions and researchers can better design clinical trials. The announcement noted that the treatment of Parkinson's disease in particular requires constant adjustment to medications, depending on how the disease is progressing in a patient and how well the patient is responding to the medication.
In a wide-ranging keynote address that included aspirational statements, updates, and announcements, Ginni Rometty, the chairwoman, president, and CEO of the Armonk, N.Y.-based IBM, on Tuesday morning shared her vision of cognitive computing with attendees at the World Health Care Congress, being held this week at the Marriott Wardman Park Hotel in Washington, D.C. Telling her audience that "Healthcare has been central to us for a long time," Rometty framed the broad work that IBM is doing in cognitive computing in terms of what she sees as its potential to change the healthcare industry in three fundamental ways: with regard to "how to reinvent discovery," how to "help change how delivery happens," and how to "transform wellness." Indeed, she said, "Cognitive computing is the future of healthcare," and said that IBM's work in that area, embodied in its development of IBM Watson, its cognitive computing entity, which IBM data scientists and technologists are using to transform knowledge in a broad range of areas. Framing IBM's broad strategic thrust around cognitive computing, Rometty told her audience, "Analytics, cloud, mobile--those are all very important to be a part of the digital society and economy. I always think of digital as foundational; I believe it is disruptive… It is the dawn of a new era. Think of digital business and business intelligence put together, and that will give you cognitive," she said.
One of the hottest tech trends these days is artificial intelligence (AI), with researchers looking into the use of AI for applications ranging from autonomous vehicles to financial management, to healthcare. The healthcare industry is often at the forefront of innovation and technological advances due to the wealth of medical devices, equipment and processes that permeate the industry. But AI in particular seems poised to transform the way we collect, understand and use data on patient health, healthcare services and historical health data to revolutionize medical diagnostics, treatment and research. What makes AI so suitable for use in medical research and the healthcare industry? Largely, the appeal of AI is its ability to collect, analyze and make sense of vast amounts of unstructured and variable data--especially text, statistical numbers, and visual images--quickly and often more accurately than a human being.
Solutions integrate patient-level data from EHRs to assess risks and other factors. At HIMSS17 in Orlando, IBM Watson Health unveiled a series of value-based cloud solutions aimed at helping providers, health plans, and employers better manage their healthcare costs and quality. The solutions integrate patient-level data from EHRs and other sources to create a better picture of patient populations, risk factors, and other red flags at the individual, group, and population level in order to improve patient outcomes under the new value-based payment models. "Healthcare organizations are operating in a complex and fluctuating business environment, one in which the insights they need to succeed can be hidden amidst an avalanche of disparate and siloed data," says Deborah DiSanzo, General Manager of IBM Watson Health. The new applications, available later this year, will include: Provider Performance Manager, Engagement Manager, Bundled Payments Forecasting and Management, and Custom analytics.
In a world where patients are getting more and more involved in their own health, the problems of manual processes are many. Having medical records, research documents, lab reports, doctor prescriptions, etc. on paper restricts seamless understanding and sharing of important health information that ultimately affects care outcome. Although advancements in healthcare technology have been remarkable, the information they provide is not sufficient to make improved healthcare decisions. What is required, in my opinion, is for healthcare information to be enhanced by the power of analytics and machine learning. Through advanced analytics, machine learning can help provide better information to doctors at the point of patient care.