Health technology, Projects

Cognitive Computing Transforming Healthcare – Calculating Heart Disease Risk

Heart diseases are the number one cause of death in the United States, accounting for 1 in every 4 deaths. However, 80% of heart diseases and strokes could be prevented with proper treatment. Many heart attacks happen due to a late diagnosis or a misdiagnosis. Being aware of and lowering the risk factors can be a key point in saving a life. Heart disease prevention should start early in life and those over the age of 40 should take action in order to calculate their risk of developing a heart disease.

Technology is changing healthcare and making it possible to give better treatment for patients. With cognitive computing, doctors are able to better understand the causes behind heart diseases and how we can better prevent them. The use of technologies has even been proved to reduce the Framingham risk score estimating the 10-year risk of having a first heart attack.

IBM has also extended its big data supercomputer Watson to the healthcare vertical. In 2015, they launched the Watson Health initiative. IBM Watson Health aims to help patients and caregivers by providing them with healthcare related data needed to make better decisions. Watson is able to understand natural language, so it can read electronic health records, structured and unstructured text, and even health related images. By entering the patient’s symptoms to Watson, it can come up with an accurate diagnosis based on all the medical literature and health records it has “learned”. Watson is able to read 40 million documents in 15 seconds, so a diagnosis will be provided faster and more accurately than any human trying to do the same.

Software Nation, together with a cardiologist, is developing a risk calculator for heart attacks. What is unique about this product is the use of Watson and cognitive computing. 80% of health data is unstructured and thus invisible to current systems, but Watson Health is able to analyze it. Patients suffering from chest pain are able to choose from certain risk factors and symptoms and Watson will be able to calculate their risk of having a heart attack. Patients will then be able to either make an appointment or find out more about heart attacks or other causes of chest pain. A Watson based heart attack risk calculator is more accurate than anything before and this will both save time and reduce healthcare costs.

Watson will continue to learn and improve every time new data is inserted. The question of privacy is always on everyone’s mind when talking about digitalized health data. However, most of the data used by Watson Health is anonymized and used for analyzing across large populations. Personalized data is available to provide the best care for individuals, but it will be encrypted on the cloud and decrypted only for the use of the individual and their doctor.

The design of the heart attack risk calculator will be very modern with an exceptional user experience design. The user interface is simple, with all the big data and calculations hidden on the back end. It will also be optimized for every platform and device to ensure comfortable usage where ever and whenever.

Technology has the power to totally transform healthcare. With the help of cognitive computing, doctors will be able to give better and more personalized treatment faster. They will be able to expand their knowledge, improve productivity and deepen their expertise.