case study on the health­care in­dus­try

The Smart Manager - - Innovation Happens Elsewhere -

An anal­y­sis of the health­care in­dus­try sheds light on how hospi­tal sys­tems might re­or­ga­nize if in­tel­li­gent ma­chines be­come as ubiq­ui­tous as smart­phones in the next five years. With med­i­cal knowl­edge dou­bling ev­ery 3.5 years, find­ing new ways to make ev­i­dence-based de­ci­sions has never been more crit­i­cal. Wat­son™ is a pow­er­ful cog­ni­tive technology de­vel­oped by IBM that pro­cesses in­for­ma­tion more like a hu­man than a com­puter, by un­der­stand­ing nat­u­ral lan­guage, gen­er­at­ing hy­pothe­ses based on ev­i­dence, and learn­ing along the way. In 2012, Me­mo­rial Sloan Ket­ter­ing Can­cer Cen­ter (MSKCC) and IBM col­lab­o­rated to de­velop a pow­er­ful tool—Wat­son for On­col­ogy. It com­bined the com­pu­ta­tional power of Wat­son with MSKCC’s decades of lon­gi­tu­di­nal data, clin­i­cal knowl­edge, molec­u­lar and ge­nomic data, can­cer case his­to­ries, and the lat­est re­search to cre­ate an ev­i­dence-based de­ci­sion sup­port sys­tem for on­col­o­gists. Wat­son for On­col­ogy was launched in 2014 and free ac­cess was pro­vided to hos­pi­tals world­wide. Par­tic­i­pat­ing hos­pi­tals had a man­date to share their data fully, which would make the tool more in­tel­li­gent. Tak­ing the US as an ex­am­ple, Wat­son for On­col­ogy has great po­ten­tial in the highly reg­u­lated health­care in­dus­try (a classic prob­lem solver and an as­set builder). There are three tiers of hos­pi­tals: Tier 1—world-class, with top doc­tors; Tier 2—re­gional; and Tier 3—com­mu­nity, of­ten with lim­ited re­sources. Hos­pi­tals in each tier have the op­por­tu­nity to re­con­fig­ure their busi­ness model to com­pete bet­ter. For ex­am­ple, Wat­son for On­col­ogy could lead to a de­cou­pling of di­ag­no­sis and treat­ment, which are typ­i­cally ver­ti­cally in­te­grated and housed un­der one roof. It is also pos­si­ble to save on ex­pen­sive doc­tors and in­vest in ar­eas that have more im­pact for can­cer pa­tients, such as nurs­ing and af­ter-treat­ment ser­vices. By spe­cial­iz­ing in a dis­ease class, a new provider could do the job—at scale, more ef­fi­ciently, and at a lower cost. Spe­cial­iza­tion in­volves stream­lin­ing the type of pa­tient, chang­ing the work­flow, in­vest­ing in spe­cific equip­ment, stan­dard­iz­ing pro­ce­dures, and be­com­ing out­come driven. Ex­per­tise and hu­man in­tu­ition are ex­pen­sive and time-con­sum­ing and the out­come is not pre­dictable. The cod­i­fi­ca­tion of hu­man knowl­edge to en­able data-based de­ci­sion mak­ing is the way for­ward. Wat­son for On­col­ogy has gained trac­tion in coun­tries such as Thai­land, Malaysia, Korea, and In­dia, many of which lack on­col­o­gists and spe­cial­ist cen­ters. The prob­lem-solv­ing in­dus­try will even­tu­ally be­come a net­work, with the abil­ity to move data around as its fun­da­men­tal gel. Al­though pri­vacy con­cerns sur­round­ing pa­tient data will need to be ad­dressed by reg­u­la­tion and technology—such as blockchains and en­cryp­tion—Wat­son for On­col­ogy is poised to change the ar­chi­tec­ture of health­care.

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