One of the fastest growing areas IT sector is increasingly focusing on is automation in healthcare. As the healthcare provider’s world over are actively focused towards attaining the twin objective of reducing costs and waste and improve the healthcare quality, automation of manual tasks becomes a significant strategy to measure performance in healthcare delivery. The proliferation of medical images forms a vital part of manual tasks faced by clinicians and radiologists.
These medical images are fastest-growing data source in the healthcare industry; and as estimated by researchers at IBM, a renowned American multinational technology corporation, they contribute to around 90 per cent of all medical data in the world today. Managing electronic health records along with medical images pose daunting tasks for healthcare providers in terms of limited tools and time available.
To address these challenges and to integrate medical images with mainstream healthcare information, various IT majors do provide automation technologies and high-end technology platforms including cloud-based healthcare intelligence.
IBM technology platform Watson – a breakthrough in medical automation
Last year in August, IBM announced that it was acquiring Merge Healthcare, a global provider of medical image handling and processing of clinical systems for around $1 billion. This acquisition will help IBM gain access to millions of medical images that it can use to develop its advanced analytics platform known as Watson, which will eventually help clinicians and physicians to improve healthcare outcomes.
The Watson Health Cloud is expected to offer new insights by consolidating patient-centric view of current and historical medical images, electronic health records, and integrating data from wearable devices in a HIPAA-enabled environment. As claimed by the medical imaging company Merge’s technology platforms are used at over 7,500 healthcare sites in US, as well as across many world’s leading clinical research institutes and pharmaceutical firms.
Not only increasing the predictability of outcomes and offering higher throughput, the application of Watson Health Cloud offers many vital data-driven insights. The IT major hopes to leverage the Watson Health Cloud in analyzing and making cross-reference to detect changes and anomalies.
Integration of electronic health records, genomic tests, clinical studies and other health-related data sources using Watson, as claimed by both the stakeholders, will offer a comprehensive and valuable insights. Other healthcare providers using any advanced image analytics technology in medical automation will enable healthcare providers and clinicians to obtain a trove of data and integrate it into their medical imaging management platform.
Impact on healthcare delivery and future insights
As per an upcoming report by Allied Market Research the impact of automated diagnostic technologies and tools is already being witnessed extensively on delivery of patient care. Two aspects that these medical automation technologies will affect are addressing the degree of required physical-patient contact and simplifying the degree of medical decision making complexity.
Some of the medical issues associated with personal visits could be resolved without any provider input. For instance, in the not so distant future, a patient who has a skin condition of rash could be safely be diagnosed with contact dermatitis through this.
Going through the evidence of numerous benefits automation technology offers to any industry in general, we may be haste in assuming the vast capability of simplifying healthcare’s complexity and transforming unique patient-provider relationship. However, there will some significant challenges to adoption.
The automated medical diagnostic tool will certainly have to go through approval process from the U.S. FDA or regional regulatory agencies wherever applicable across regions. Furthermore, the safety and efficacy of a tool or technology will depend on a large extent on provider’s input.
Hopefully, the drive towards lower costs and higher quality in healthcare will enable to overcome these challenges. Continuous feedback from concerned stakeholders will ultimately improve performance improvement and cost optimization in medical automation technology, taking us a step forwards in achieving the goal of personalized healthcare.
This article was wrticle written by Baibhav Aanand, Allied Analytics