How Smart Technology Benefits the Healthcare Industry

The healthcare industry accumulates vast amounts of structured and unstructured content every day:

  • Patient records and medical histories
  • Images such as ultrasounds, x-rays, and other images
  • Pharmaceutical and therapy research data
  • Records from practitioners about ground-breaking patient cases
  • Clinical trial data

IBM's Watson Healthcare division predicts the amount of medical data stored in various repositories around the world will start to double every 73 days by 2020. In 2016, there are 213 million gigabytes of health related information worldwide. About 80 percent of that data is undiscoverable, or can't be understood by current systems. The data which doctors need resides in unstructured content management systems like:

  • Scanned image repositories
  • Web pages
  • E-mails
  • Documents like Word or PowerPoint
  • Videos

Think about how long it would take you, your family, and a team of medical researchers to read 40 million medical journals. Seems daunting, right? Watson, a cognitive technology hub can read all of those documents in only 15 seconds, and maybe another few seconds to understand the relationships between those journals and documents.

Technology Which Can Learn and Reason Through Medical Data

We have evolved into a technology era of smart technology which can gather data, store the information and then classify the data.

An integrated healthcare information ecosystem can help:

  • Physicians to search case histories from historical data, and from other patient treatments from around the world
  • Scientists and clinical researchers can access data from their peers worldwide, and with the help of smart technology, find information they would never have been able to find with traditional search engines
  • Healthcare providers, medical device companies, pharmaceutical corporations and startups can interface their applications and devices to smart technology hubs, eliminating information silos for the benefit of patients, and many facets of the healthcare industry

Some of the amazing applications of the Watson partner Ecosystem are to:

  • Detect emotions, stress level and general tone of people based on social media posts, or other written content
  • Help doctors to make educated diagnoses of patients based on their symptoms compared to millions of patient days
  • Provide personalized fitness, mental and physical health treatment plans based on millions of medical journals and proven practices

Delivering Quality Healthcare with Disruptive Technology

Have you heard of the Roomba robot vacuum cleaner? iRobot, the company which manufactures the Roomba has created the InTouch Remote Presence Robot. In remote areas where specialist doctors aren't available in person, the InTouch robot can enable a doctor to communicate with a patient, and local healthcare partners to diagnose and treat a patient.

An IBM study revealed that 84 percent of healthcare industry executives feel that smart technology is a disruptive force in healthcare, and 94 percent plan to implement it in their organization.

Wearables and the IoT

For patients with conditions like diabetes, heart disease and even those trying to quit smoking, there are wearable devices, which send data to the Internet of Things such as their:

  • Heart rate
  • Blood glucose levels
  • Breast tissue health
  • Skin and cardiovascular health
  • Chronic pain

Wearable devices range from smart bands, bras, contact lenses and braces.

Many companies like iRobot, GE Healthcare, IBM and other healthcare organizations and solution providers have been partnering to create ecosystems to make structured data and unstructured data more accessible to healthcare professionals.

There are already exabytes of health-related data being stored around the world.

Applications which can consume content quickly, and reason though the connections between different data sets is very advanced. In some circles, the ability to classify this data, and suggest possible outcomes is called artificial intelligence. Others call it cognitive technology.

Regardless of what you call smart technology, it is a great opportunity to uncover hidden data to suggest treatments to physicians to save lives, cure disease and treat mental health problems more effectively.

Just as the Atomic Reach platform can scan through content, diagnose the audience it is suited for and make recommendations for "healing" the content - physicians can use AI to do the same with medical data to care for patients.

What role do you see smart technology play in the future of unstructured healthcare content? Tell us about it in the comments section below!

About The Author:

Mark Burdon is a technology professional based in Barrie, Ontario. He has worked in sales and marketing for companies including IBM, Open Text and most recently The Portal Connector for Microsoft Dynamics CRM .Mark has provided B2B content marketing services to companies including Intuit, HireVue, and gShift . He is a freelance writer with Cloudworker Solutions. Follow him on Twitter: @mark_burdon

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Tags: smart technology, healthcare, healthcare industry, Healthcare Marketing, healthcare technology, Machine Learning, smart tech, Technology