Cognitive Computing Set to Help People Manage their Health

June 14, 2017 MedXM

Cognitive Computing Set to Help People Manage their Health

You may have at some point heard about the ten year research and development that resulted in the IBM and Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute’s Watson technology. If you haven’t, Watson is an artificial intelligence (or AI) cognitive computing machine. The year 2015 saw the introduction of IBM’s Watson Health, which was debuted on Jeopardy! to outstanding success, and Watson Health Cloud, which identifies health data and combines it with studies, social and other data.

Watson technology scans big data regarding clinical trials of chronic diseases or conditions, analyzes the data, and then makes recommendations regarding treatment for that condition or disease. The IBM-Rensselaer team at their jointly run HEALS (Health Empowerment by Analytics, Learning and Semantics) hopes to provide the healthcare world with the tools to personalize their patient’s’ machine learning efforts to control their conditions.

The tools developed in the past few years, often making healthcare industry news, have come together to form the newest of healthcare innovations: cognitive computing. The goal of these innovations is to provide healthcare professionals and individual patients with the tools to manage their health using the most effective treatments, which will create a more efficient healthcare system. Studies show that in one person’s lifetime, he will generate approximately 300 million books’ worth of health related information. Most of that is blowing in the breeze, impractical to be processed either by any human being. That’s where Watson steps in.

What is Cognitive Computing?

Cognitive systems are capable of reason, learning and understanding human health conditions. Self-learning gives patients and healthcare professionals the ability to mine data from clinical studies and the professional papers of world-class health professionals. Cognitive computing recognizes human senses, patterns, data from life and work, as well as social and other patient information. It closely resembles the human brain, in other words, in its capability of learning and analysis of the information.

For example, picture a middle-aged lady sleeping in bed. Her chest begins to close up, as would be in keeping with a bad COPD episode. Cognitive computing would sense and then analyze the occurrence, compare it with a huge databank of information, and then dispense the proper medication through a product like an air freshener spritz similar to the ones found in restaurant bathrooms. The lady is thus medicated and sleeps through the night without a trip to the ER. Her doctor reads the data the next morning, confident that his patient has been well treated.

Where is Cognitive Computing Deployed?

Watson technology is being used across the country in ever growing numbers. Research and academic entities such as the Mayo Clinic are using Watson for clinical trials. Hospitals like Memorial Sloan-Kettering in New York and the University of Texas at Austin’s MD Anderson Cancer Center are using Watson to influence cancer outcomes. IBM is also working with the American Diabetes Association. Watson will be taught how to understand the disease and recognize certain risk factors so that doctors can access this new data. Cancer research centers across the country are using Watson technology to identify DNA factors from which their patients can be treated effectively.

We still have a long way to go, though. Microsoft and Google are snatching up all the scientists they can get in order to study how to help with the cognitive computing phenomenon. That means a shortage of scientists as soon as 2025, say some experts. Monitoring sensors will need to be expert at sensing the patient’s needs and behavior patterns in order to correctly decide on appropriate treatment.

Healthcare professionals will need to be taught how to handle genetic, social data, environmental and other data pertaining to their individual patients in order to make more effective medical decisions.
Payers and the medical industry must be willing to pay for machines that do a human’s work, so that costs can be kept to a reasonable level.

Personalized quality care is what cognitive computing is all about. We do personalized quality care, and we can tell you more about it when you contact us to learn more.

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