Watson brings the goods to insurance. Health insurance first…What’s next?

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When comparing industry verticals on their IT maturity,  insurance and healthcare are still on the conservative end of the spectrum. As an example from one source, Ventana Research analysis concludes that only 12 percent of all insurance organizations attain the highest innovative level of maturity in their use of analytics. Or look at investment levels across industry on social, mobile, analytics or cloud. This shows some profound differences in how industries are taking up these technologies.

But one fact pointing to a major game change is that insurance is keenly interested in Watson. In fact, WellPoint, Inc, has embraced Watson to help reduce waste and improve the utilization management process which governs the preapproval of healthcare insurance coverage for many medical procedures.

This may be the start of something very big for both insurance and healthcare. For insurance, I’m not sure its been fully appreciated. The fact that Watson provides a smarter decision not only makes the likelihood of human error smaller – besides the required re-work that implicates it also means better potential customer service for policy holders, because it can shift resources that are currently used for claims adjudication to be better applied to customer service, or other key business processes that require the interaction of a person. Or, on the other hand, maybe customer service will shortly be optimized by Watson, too.

Program Director, Cross-Portfolio Services Strategy

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