ORLANDO — At HIMSS15, IBM Watson Health officially made its launch. Now two years later, the head of IBM spoke to a packed room about the future of health technology and how health care can be a leader for change during the opening keynote of HIMSS17.
“We are in a moment, where we can actually transform many parts of health care. We can reinvent many pieces and we can change many things,” says Ginni Rometty, chairman, president and CEO, IBM.
Rometty delivered a meaningful message sprinkled with hope that the promise of big data and predictive analytics is not something of the future, but that “it’s mainstream and it’s here.”
To that point, IBM also took the day to unveil a number of new offerings such the IBM Watson Health Value-Based Care Management solutions. The offering is designed to integrate patient-level data from multiple sources including EHRs, hospital administrative and clinical databases and other sources to help predict future needs and behaviors.
If that didn’t convince the doubters that IBM officials are betting on the belief that the era of using big data is already here, the fifth-year CEO drove home the importance of the next few years to health care by offering three key messages on how she envisions it all unfolding.
- “Cognitive health care is real, it’s mainstream and it is here.”
“There is a land rush around artificial intelligence right now. I don’t mean speech detect on the front of a search engine. I mean something that augments the intelligence of everyone in health care,” she said.
In support of that, Rometty shared lessons taken from IBM’s five years in applying artificial intelligence to health care:
- “Those who are successful end up applying a range of cognitive services. It’s not enough to think of artificial intelligence or natural language, you need vision, deep learning and many algorithms.”
- “You have to provide transparency. Who trained it? What data was used? How do you have confidence in the insights? Because this is an industry full of professionals.”
- “It has to be domain specific. Trained in health care and trained by health care physicians.”
- “It has to be cloud based and make it ubiquitous. But a cloud that’s built for big-data, for security, and one that’s going to have to be hybrid, because otherwise you can’t connect. Whether it’s an academic medical center or community hospital, you have to be able to connect people.”
- “It has to be open platform, because this is an industry all about innovation. Innovation doesn’t come from one person, it’s about an ecosystem of people.”
- There are three key architecture decisions that will be made in the next one to two years that will impact health care for the next two decades:
“You’re going to pick a cloud platform, data architecture and an A.I. platform,” Rometty says. These three choices will matter because they will determine if this can scale, if this model is reliable and if it’s secure, she added.
- Cognitive as an era can usher in a golden age, if we shape it wisely:
“When a new era comes — and they don’t happen often — it’s our responsibility to both guide that technology into the world in an ethical and enduring way.”
She closed the session by addressing the common fear that comes with concepts such as artificial intelligence and machine learning. Whether it’s a fear of physicians being replaced by machines or the plot of a Steven Spielberg movie pitting A.I. robots against humanity, Rometty wants it to be clear that “we are building technology to augment human intelligence, not replace it. This is not man versus machine, this is man and machine.”
“If I could make one recommendation: don’t be tentative. This is a time to play offense, because you could build this world,” she added.