Thursday, February 14, 2013

It’s E-lementary , My Dear Watson!. Virtually Speaking, Of Course
“Excellent!”I (Watson) cried.
“Elementary!”said he (Holmes)
Sir Arthur Conan Doyle (1859-1930), The Crooked Man
February 14, 2013 - Doug Henschen, executive editor of InformationWeek, has declared Watson, IBM's supercomputer, could change the entire health care game, for the better, of course, if you are a true believer in artificial intelligence.
IBM, working with Memorial Sloane Kettering, will recommend the best cancer treatment options. And, using claims data from WellPoint, the Cleveland Clinic, and Cedars Sinai,  Watson will move into medical training and other chronic disease areas, like diabetes, heart disease, and mental health.
It’s all about rationalizing , streamlining, and grouping data to improve care.
Not to be outdone and to supplement IBM’s Watson strategies, the Virtuwell Clinic, created by HealthPartners Health System in Minnesota joined the hunt for a lower cost, more convenient, more convenient health system (Ann Carrns, “Visiting the Doctor, Virtually", New York Times, February 14, 2013).
The idea is to have patients visit doctors online rather than in person. Virtuwell visits cost $88 less than personal visits, save 2.5 hours of the patient’s time, and reduce copays. Virtuwell’s slick slogan is “Sick Click, and Cure.”
Patients can go to Virtuwell’s website, answer a brief questionnaire, and a certified nurse practitioner will review and write a treatment plan, within 30 minutes. If a prescription is needed, it will  send the script electronically to a pharmacy of the patient’s choice. If a direct visit is indicated, or x-rays or lab tests are required, a referral will be made.
For such a system to work and to be more widely available, state laws and regulations and Medicare laws will have to be changed to make the system economically viable.
All of which leads inexorably to this verse.

Medical practices may soon become virtually virtual,
For diseases, conditions, and visits that are computable.
It is E-lementary, given an IBM 's Watson computer,
and the right, proper, and suitable data to grouper.
Believe me, virtual care  may well be doable.

Tweet: With IBM’s supercomputer, Watson, and with Virtuwell’sl computer visits, medical practice is becoming more virtual, virtually speaking.


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