How AI is impacting healthcare

Health professionals make decisions that affect the health and well-being of their patients, members and citizens every day. They need technology that can help inform their decisions, automate their daily tasks and empower them to do their best work for the people they serve.

See how artificial intelligence (AI) solutions from IBM Watson Health are doing just that for organizations across the healthcare industry.

Healthcare providers

AI is helping healthcare providers make fast, informed decisions for their patients.

A physician examines a patient on an examination table surrounded by x rays and patient identification cards. A physician examines a patient on an examination table surrounded by x rays and patient identification cards. A physician examines a patient on an examination table surrounded by x rays and patient identification cards.

AI can help quickly surface evidence-based drug and disease information, EHR data and more – leading to better care experiences for patients and providers.

1. Evidence-based clinical information for providers

Each day, healthcare providers strive to deliver the best possible care experiences to their patients. But as biomedical research rapidly evolves, delivering personalized, evidence-based care is becoming increasingly difficult.

AI can help clinicians quickly mine vast libraries of biomedical literature from within their existing workflows, so they spend less time searching for answers and more time with patients.

DynaMed® and Micromedex® with Watson combines current, reliable drug and disease insights with the search power of AI to supporting efficient, evidence-based decision-making. Clinicians can simply type their question into the Watson Assistant – as if asking a medical colleague – and get fast, reliable answers within their EHR or mobile device.


2. Patient insights can inform radiologists

Thanks to advancements in imaging technology, a single imaging study can contain thousands of images. As a result, radiologists and imaging specialists need to review a large amount of data for each patient case with scarce time to do it.

AI can be help clinicians increase the confidence in their decisions without disrupting their workflows. AI apps from Watson Health and its partners can identify and prioritize high-risk cases first and help complete findings reports more easily.

When AI capabilities that automate tasks and augment knowledge are readily available in the radiologists’ workflow, they have more time to spend on the work that only they can perform.

3. Collate and implement the best of AI

When it comes to AI applications for imaging, organizations can choose from a multitude of different options — many of which do one discreet clinical function. How do organizations choose which applications deliver value or integrate into their workflows? What if they didn’t have to?

To help organizations make the most of a variety of AI applications, AI Orchestrator is a cloud-based, subscription platform that offers per-use access to multiple AI solutions. Results are organized and collated, offering providers the ability to review results quickly and easily to find the most important insights.

With AI Orchestrator, organizations can take advantage of collective AI insights while getting high value from a per-use model.

Payers and employers

AI is helping improve experiences for members and employees and unlocking performance data.

A businesswoman looks at data on a tablet device. A businesswoman looks at data on a tablet device. A businesswoman looks at data on a tablet device.

Payers and employers are using AI to help their members and employees access the benefits information they need and power robust analytics for performance insights.

1. Fast benefits answers for health plan members

Member experience professionals for health plans want their members to have positive and productive interactions at every touchpoint.

However, it can be challenging to deliver prompt services when much of the agents’ time is taken up answering simple benefits questions, driving up costs for the health plan and wait times for members.

With Watson Assistant for Health Benefits, health plans have a virtual assistant trained in conversational AI that can answer real-world questions about complex health plan benefits quickly and easily.

This can improve member satisfaction by providing fast, intuitive answers in language that’s easy to understand.

When members can access this information they need via the AI assistant, it also helps reduce call-handling time, freeing up member service agents to focus on more complex member needs or higher value work.

2. Unlocking insights with powerful analytics

Health plans need insights based on their health and claims data to help drive decisions. These crucial analytics can uncover patterns in service utilizations, or provide care managers with information about at-risk populations.

Flexible Analytics is a robust analytics application that integrates with existing systems and provides the analytic capabilities health plans need to satisfy stakeholders, whether that be financial analysis, care management, provider performance and more.

Within the solution, AI algorithms from Watson Change Direction help identify meaningful health trends early on. AI helps speed the insights that can drive informed business and care decisions for members.

3. Helping employees navigate their benefits

During open enrollment period, employees often need help to understand their benefit options. Human resource professionals work to answer questions and help employees make the right health plan decisions for their needs.

Benefits Mentor with Watson is an enrollment decision support solution that helps employees make better, more cost-effective plan choices by offering personalized information for employees based on analytics and historical claims data.

Augmented by an AI-powered virtual assistant, employees can access near real-time guidance to evaluate plans and get definitions for benefits terms, all via an easy-to-use interface that understands normal conversational queries.

© (2019) Willis Towers Watson. Used with permission.

Health and human services agencies

AI enables service providers to better connect with clients and also detect fraud.

A case worker types on a computer while talking to a client in a wheelchair. A case worker types on a computer while talking to a client in a wheelchair. A case worker types on a computer while talking to a client in a wheelchair.

Government health and human service agencies are using AI to help citizens connect with the services they need, as well as protecting Medicaid resources.

1. Connecting citizens to the services they need

Citizens who may need assistance from public services can face many barriers in understanding the benefits they may qualify for, let alone accessing them. Work schedules, child care needs, or lack of transportation may make in-person appointments hard to keep — and lack of internet at home can prevent access to online services.

IBM Citizen Engagement provides citizens with an AI-infused virtual assistant trained in conversational AI to understand natural language, allowing them to ask questions to receive easy-to-understand answers and prescreen for benefit programs.

With the assistance of IBM Citizen Engagement, citizens can receive user-centered information that enables them to access the services they need.

2. Streamlining policy analysis

Program integrity investigators have a mammoth task — they face increasing volumes of policy documents, constantly evolving policies and time-consuming administrative work in their efforts to control fraud, waste and abuse within state agencies.

IBM Policy Insights with Watson is designed to help program integrity investigators improve the speed and productivity of their work, supporting detection and prevention of a higher percentage of inappropriate claims payments. Trained on health and policy concepts, this AI-powered solution utilizes natural language processing to streamline analysis and scale policy knowledge for those who are conducting policy research, fraud, waste and abuse detection and prevention, as well as overall policy investigation.

Post-COVID we have employed a lot more staff and they need a lot more support. Having an AI virtual assistant for them to be able to find the information they need is just brilliant.”
— Linda Fergusson, Case Manager, Housing, Ministry of Social Development, New Zealand

3. Helping caseworkers uncover insights in complex case files

Connecting vulnerable and at-risk populations with essential services and programs can be a complex and timely process. Governments have to collaborate across departments and agencies and attempt to bridge the gap between caseworkers and care providers.

Watson Care Manager is a configurable, HIPAA-enabled platform that utilizes artificial intelligence to highlight key information, enabling caseworkers to quickly uncover necessary information. Through the use of natural language processing, Watson Care Manager sifts through unstructured text to extract concepts, worry words, protective factors, and other filters from large and complex case files. This enables caseworkers to search and discover the most important concepts with ease.

Clinical trial data managers

AI is helping uncover insights to make clinical trials safer.

A clinical trial manager types on a computer. A clinical trial manager types on a computer. A clinical trial manager types on a computer.

AI is helping clinical trial data managers uncover insights from clinical trails that can lead to safer, more efficient trials.

1. Decoding confusing medical data

Clinical trial data involves a wide variety of sources submitting data that may use many different ways of describing events or symptoms. Long strands of confusing, and sometimes misspelled, terms can make it laborious and time-consuming work to apply the accurate medical coding.

IBM Clinical Development includes an AI algorithm trained through natural language processing to help conduct intelligent searches that can decode misspellings and target keywords within long stands of text to be coded. Medical coders can do their work more easily and efficiently, helping to decode the data behind clinical trials.


2. Flagging potential safety issues for clinical trials

Clinical data managers rely on consistently coded medical data to uncover information about adverse events or medical history from trial participants. This data is crucial to share with those conducting clinical trials as soon as possible, so they can spot potential safety signals and take action, if needed.

Not only does IBM Clinical Development help those conducting clinical trials to mange the process end-to-end, but its AI-powered medical coding assistance can help data managers identify and flag important data quickly, which can help foster trial interventions and protect the safety of participants.