IBM's new Content and Predictive Analytics software uses technology similar to that of the Watson supercomputer to help doctors spot patient trends and improve care.
IBM has introduced Content
and Predictive Analytics for Healthcare
, an application that provides
content analytics like that of IBM's Watson, the supercomputer made famous on
Big Blue has developed the
application to help the health care industry reduce hospital admissions, IBM
reports. The company announced the new software on Oct. 25.
IBM bills its Content and
Predictive Analytics for Healthcare application as "ready for
Watson," which means it lacks the supercomputer's question-and-answer
capabilities, but uses a similar understanding of speech.
"It is not Watson, but
it does leverage the same natural language technology as Watson," Craig
Rhinehart, IBM's director of enterprise content management strategy and market
development, told eWEEK.
"Instead of putting in a question-and-answer machine, we're running
content analysis over natural language processing and then doing
Watson helps doctors know
what questions to ask patients, and Content and Predictive Analytics will be
able to show trends and patterns in unstructured data.
The new software will be
used in the future to find patterns in health care information to allow Watson
to ask better questions, Rhinehart explained. "The ability to visualize
past, present and future scenarios gives you a much broader context to form
questions from," he said.
In September, IBM announced
an agreement with health insurer WellPoint to jointly develop commercial
applications for Watson
Content and Predictive
Analytics will allow health care organizations to pull clinical data from large
amounts of patient information to understand patient histories and predict
Seton Healthcare Family
, a Texas health
system, will be the first health care organization to use the software. By
employing the application, Seton hopes to reduce readmissions, curb mortality
rates and improve care through access to clinical and operational information
in unstructured data, the health system reports.
With more than 80 percent of
a health care organizations' data unstructured, the industry is looking for
ways to analyze the data. Unstructured data includes physician notes,
registration forms and discharge documents, IBM reports.
Content and Predictive
Analytics will allow physicians to better understand patterns and abnormalities.
In addition to potential
improvement in patient care, health care organizations will have a new means of
reimbursement by using the analytics tool, according to IBM. It also provides
built-in support for medical terminology.
Features of the software
include searching, exploring, mining, monitoring and reporting.
The new application works
with IBM's Health Integration Framework, which involves integrating data
warehouses, business intelligence, master data management and advanced case
In addition, it combines
IBM's Content Analytics, an application that analyzes text in medical records
to support physician decision making, with SPSS Modeler Professional, a product
that uncovers trends in structured data.
Content analytics is the
historical analysis, such as a note that a patient had started smoking in the
past or knowing what causes congestive heart failure. Predictive analytics
forecasts future outcomes.
Health care organizations
have used content and predictive analytics separately, but by combining them,
Seton will be able to get a complete picture of which treatments can keep
patients out of the hospital, according to Rhinehart.
"If you could only act
retrospectively on the information, that's only half the answer," he said.
"You have to be able to look
By combining content and
predictive analytics together, organizations will be able to analyze structured
data, Rhinehart noted.
In a study, IBM could
identify the 40 percent of respondents who were smokers through unstructured
capability is to analyze the structured and unstructured together,"
Rhinehart said. "They smoked cigars, and at least 40 percent of the time
you can find that in the unstructured text, but the EMR might still show
they're a nonsmoker," he noted.
Only 1 in 5 hospital
readmissions are nonpreventable according to a study in The New England Journal of Medicine,
and the Centers for Medicare
& Medicaid Services (CMS) within the Department of Health & Human
Services (HHS) plans to penalize hospitals starting in October 2012 for high readmission
Meanwhile, Southeast Texas
Medical Associates is also using
IBM analytics software to curb hospital readmissions
and claims to have
reduced them 22 percent.