IBM is helping healthcare providers improve patient care through advanced health analytics
As healthcare providers strive to improve patient outcomes by coordinating and optimizing treatment regimens, hospitals and physicians are seeking new ways to connect, analyze and share health information. IBM Research Services – a partnership between IBM Global Business Services (GBS) and IBM Research – is helping healthcare professionals access the information they need to design individualized care for patients through a private cloud-based service called Collaborative Care Solution. Using cloud-based technology helps clients deliver state-of-the-art patient care without incurring the upfront costs and long lead time associated with in-house technology infrastructure implementation. Healthcare organizations can purchase the services on a per-physician basis and be up and running quickly.
In one of the first Collaborative Care Solution implementations, California’s Sharp Community Medical Group (SCMG) is using the system as part of a health information exchange designed to connect the medical group’s physicians throughout San Diego County and help provide deep insight into improving patient care. The system combines clinical decision support technology from IBM partner ActiveHealth Management with IBM’s advanced health analytics technology to cull through vast amounts of patient data and identify trends and patterns to help manage chronic diseases such as hypertension or diabetes.
To assist SCMG’s medical teams, IBM Research’s deep analytics help drive clinical decision intelligence in the context of patient care. Using sophisticated algorithms, the system analyzes a predetermined set of patient health variables and assigns patients to groups based on similar health histories and medical issues. New patient similarity analytics provide better understanding of which treatments are most effective and help predict treatment outcomes based on patients' clinical characteristics. For example, analytics are used to find and suggest the optimal collaborative care delivery team that can improve certain outcome measure for a given patient.
The Collaborative Care Solution gives doctors access to actionable decision support on their desktop and provides a snapshot of trends in SCMG patient populations, such as the number of patients with uncontrollable diabetes or the number of women who need mammography screening. SCMG is also working with ActiveHealth and IBM Research Services to coordinate and support emerging accountable care and patient-centered medical home models, which focus on reimbursing physicians based on quality of care rather than quantity of procedures performed.
In addition, the Collaborative Care Solution’s advanced analytics are helping measure and respond to how the organization or an individual physician is performing. And as part of the support system, the IBM Research Services team is designing and implementing physician and patient Web portals, disease registries, quality reporting systems and information visualization dashboards to improve medical research, diagnosis and treatment.
At a time when the medical profession is seeking new ways to improve patient care while lowering costs, the Collaborative Care Solution is supporting the coordination of care among teams, helping physicians, health care workers and pharmacists work more closely and more effectively in patient care management.