3 ways cognitive digital innovation is improving healthcare quality
It’s staggering how the world’s population is changing. Right now, the world population of people ages 60 years and over is growing faster than any other age group for the first time. According to the United Nations, the number of people in the world within this age bracket is projected to grow by 56 percent — from 901 million to 1.4 billion — between 2015 and 2030. By 2050, the global population of seniors is expected to more than double its 2015 size to nearly 2.1 billion.
The healthcare industry is preparing for this. Improving healthcare quality is a top priority, and many healthcare executives believe this improvement will stem from cognitive computing. Eighty-four percent of healthcare executives familiar with cognitive computing believe it will play a disruptive role in the industry.
These advanced technologies, historically adopted exclusively by large companies, are now available to smaller players as a result of the scalability of the cloud and the API economy. APIs allow developers to connect formerly disparate technologies, enabling developers to create innovative and collaborative healthcare tools. Using these technologies, people can manage their health by monitoring wellness, and clinicians can deliver increasingly accurate diagnoses. In addition, caregivers, families and clinicians will be able to leverage open communication channels.
The following are three examples of how digital cognitive innovation is changing the healthcare landscape:
1. Wearables and the IoT
In the case of healthcare, the “Internet of the Body” can send activity and vitals data directly to healthcare providers and family members in real-time. Health wearables keep track of steps taken, heart rate and sleep activity. The Internet of the Body sensors can tell whether patients are eating, going to the restroom or moving around enough. This gives people access to their own and their loved ones’ wellness information right from a mobile device. Providers can access accurate, high-quality data without needing to physically come into a medical facility. This bends the healthcare cost curve down and, most importantly, provides preventative monitoring that helps keep people healthier.
2. Cognitive capabilities
Embedding cognitive capabilities into mobile applications can give families, caregivers and clinicians the ability to collaborate on and create high-quality, personalized patient care. This assists in caring for individuals with particular needs, such as those with Alzheimer’s disease or dementia. According to the National Center for Biotechnology Information, the primary family caregivers of people with dementia spend an average of nine hours per day providing care. These caregivers need assistance giving their loved ones the therapy they need.
SimpleC provides technology-based therapies as an alternative to drug-based therapies to promote memory and engagement. The organization also offers a solution with which clinicians can monitor groups of patients from an app that compiles analytics from automated feedback. The analytics can then be used for improving healthcare quality.
3. Cognitive computing
Cognitive solutions are more accurately diagnosing conditions to provide increasingly effective treatment options. IBM Watson for Oncology can analyze patient medical history and sift through thousands of articles, studies, medical journals, textbooks and patient cases to present oncologists with potential treatment plans. These plans are supported with evidence from a wide variety of sources, so doctors know they are effectively using all available resources.
The healthcare industry is already seeing historic technological changes. As the global population ages, one can expect cognitive digital innovations to play an even more significant role in improving healthcare quality and patient experiences and outcomes.