IBM Expands Health Analytics Solution Center


IBM announced the expansion
of its Health Analytics Solution
Center. Located in Dallas, the center is
adding new technology and has doubled the number of healthcare solution
architects and technology specialists working at the center. Teams there
are working to help physicians connect smart phones, tablets and other devices
to electronic medical records (EMRs) while also helping healthcare providers
build new solutions for remote patient monitoring.


As part of this expansion, the
Analytics Solutions Center
is incorporating some of the same technology used in IBM’s Watson, the
experimental computer system that defeated the two best human contestants in
the game show Jeopardy! earlier this year. Using sophisticated analytics to
understand the meaning and context of medical information, advanced health
analytics is increasingly being used to help healthcare organizations gain new
insight from the explosion of health data growing at a rate of 35 percent per
year, according to a recent study by Enterprise Strategy Group.


Today, more than 27 percent
of specialists and primary care physicians use a tablet PC or similar device.
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.


This growing use of mobile
devices however creates new challenges. Updating medical records, entering
notes and accessing information on small devices with tiny keys can be
challenging. Physicians may choose to interact using their phone via text,
voice or a combination of both.


Using clinical voice
recognition from Nuance Communications, Inc. (NASDAQ: NUAN) and medical
terminology management from Health Language, Inc., 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.


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 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 important data such as temperature, blood pressure,
pulse oximeter readings, and even when medications are taken automatically by
an application on a Bluetooth smart phone, a nurse care coordinator can monitor
the patient in real-time. This allows patients to recover in a comfortable
setting, while still enabling caregivers to take action if and when needed.


These and other health
analytics technologies are designed to help healthcare organizations make sense
of the massive volumes of data they generate every day. 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.


The massive increase in
health data and the need to gain insight from it has made the field of health
analytics increasingly important as leading hospitals use analytics to
transform many aspects of their business such as clinical decision making,
coordination of care and for measuring performance and patient safety.


The Health Analytics
Solution Center
has worked with more than 150 hospitals, health plans and other healthcare
organizations since its opening in late 2009. The center provides clients
access to health analytics experts, technical architects and specialists, with
access to hundreds more health industry experts from across IBM, including
experts from IBM’s Business Analytics and Optimization consulting organization
and IBM Research.


It is the first center of
its kind to address the need for advanced analytics across the health care
industry, taking advantage of increased computing power to collect and analyze
data streaming in from sensors, patient monitoring systems, medical instruments
and handheld devices as well as the volumes of data generated by hospitals
every hour.


By Team
[email protected]