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The joys of cognitive computing

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Anil Jain, M.D., and Kathy McGroddy Goetz, writing in Hospitals & Health Networks, explain how hospitals can benefit from “cognitive computing.”

They explain that cognitive computing can:

·       “Understand and interpret natural language

·       “Extend what humans and machine can do

·       “Help experts to make better decisions by penetrating the complexity of big data — including structured and unstructured data.”


“The volume of biomedical, clinical, psychosocial, personal and research data available continues to grow at an increasingly overwhelming pace.  It is implausible for even the most diligent physicians to keep up with the proliferation of information and, consequently, many providers fail to connect their patients with the best care potentially available to them. If we use cognitive computing systems to give doctors the tools they need to succeed, and empower expertise in every individual caregiver, we can convert information overload into meaningful guidance that allows caregivers to perform at their highest potential.”

Further, “Cognitive computing also can be applied to the challenge of managing the cost of care, by helping organizations to understand where best to apply limited resources. Getting each complex patient just the right care (and avoid unnecessary care) at just the right time requires a careful balance between the a priori knowledge and the interactions of hundreds of factors — a perfect use for cognitive computing. When you have a system that can provide decision support based on intelligent analysis of all of those elements, and can collect and analyze data on which interventions and pathways are most effective, it becomes far easier to meet the demands of tightening margins in the setting of new value-based payment models.”

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