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Watson Hiding in Your Data Center

IBM Content and Predictive Analytics for Healthcare offers Watson-caliber analytics without the supercomputer

IBM Content and Predictive Analytics for Healthcare offers Watson-caliber analytics without the supercomputer
Illustration by Otto Steininger

Healthcare Analytics in a Box

ICPA is a healthcare solution that features a core group of preintegrated software capabilities, such as IBM Content Analytics, SPSS* Modeler and a healthcare solution accelerator (HSA), which combine to dramatically reduce the time-to-value of deploying a specific application. This application suite was also designed to leverage other IBM data management and analytics solutions, such as IBM Cognos* 10, Netezza and InfoSphere* technology, for increasing the quality and accessibility of patient data. For an end-to-end solution, providers can also optimize the care-coordination process by applying IBM Case Manager and IBM enterprise content management (ECM) solutions.

Perhaps the key benefit of ICPA is the HSA, which leverages the natural-language processing capability of Watson to extract medical facts and build structured relationships through prebuilt annotators for advanced text analysis. The HSA is designed to identify trends, patterns, deviations, anomalies and so forth in the data. These applications also include predictive analytics capabilities that, in addition to modeling and scoring the data, provide the capability to predict outcomes. A healthcare provider could analyze a large pool of patient treatment and outcomes records, along with recent guidance from research institutions, then apply it to his or her own patient records to develop a highly personalized treatment plan. In the future, these analytics capabilities may also enable our most sophisticated providers to deliver world-class treatment options to small communities and remote locations.

ICPA supplies healthcare providers with a solution that mimics Watson functionality now, without requiring the resource investment or computing power of the game-show system. Like Watson, ICPA offers natural-language processing capabilities, augmented with medical-specific terminology. It features scalable unstructured information management architecture (UIMA) and the capability to leverage custom annotators designed specifically for the healthcare industry.

ICPA is designed to generically accelerate solutions for operational and clinical applications while allowing providers to tailor the package to their needs. “You don’t have to build everything from scratch because a lot of integration is done already,” Rhinehart says. “Customers just have to take it the last mile and customize it to a specific use case like congestive heart failure. They can begin seeing value in as little as six weeks.” (See “ICPA Helps Hearts” for more.)

Better on Power

IBM POWER7* technology combines processing muscle with virtualization, a broad range of automated system-administration and energy-management capabilities. Delivering 99.997-percent availability, it dynamically tailors system resources to maximize throughput and scalability.

Deployment of ICPA on POWER7 systems benefits from the workload-optimized features of the platform. These Power Systems offerings are tailored for complex analytics of unstructured data and made possible by the deep, rich-content analytics capabilities of IBM Content Analytics and the predictive analytics and scoring of SPSS Modeler. The comprehensive approach allows the hardware to deliver the best performance and value for ICPA users. “We’ve learned a lot about how these analytics applications behave and tuned the workload optimization features of these offerings for the highest possible performance and value,” Talbot says. “POWER7 is by far the technology and platform of choice for these compute-intensive environments.”

The Power Systems family also provides a broad range of in-the-box scalability. “Many of our clients will start small with a relatively simple proof-of-concept,” Talbot says. “When they demonstrate the technical feasibility and potential value of these analytics capabilities, the platform is capable, by design, of growing with their expanding needs.”

Ultimately, the roadmap for IBM’s healthcare solutions calls for integrating ICPA with Watson for Healthcare for DeepQA capability. “This is a journey,” Rhinehart says. Going forward, he suggests, clients may eventually deploy a variety of applications in different parts of their businesses.

The capability to answer natural-language queries by analyzing unstructured content would enable users across multiple industries to address their business in ways never before thought possible. “In finance, we could choose to integrate online trading vocabulary and other sources of information and terminology. The system understands the terminology that clients use in the context of the discussion that they want to have,” Rhinehart explains. “We’re accelerating the time-to-value, and the time frames in which the client can actually put these capabilities to work.”

Kristin Lewotsky is a freelance technology writer based in Amherst, N.H.

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