"I don't know how well Watson works with Nuance, but there's so much detailed data in healthcare," Probst said. "It's known that the human mind can process 7 to 9 data items and consistently. The average clinical decision application uses over 40 data items to make a decision. So, there's much more data involved."
Last week, Intermountain Healthcare opened a 10,000-square-foot informatics research center supported by two data centers. Intermountain's Homer Warner Center for Informatics Research staffs 65 physicians and PhDs charged with providing decision support functions to clinicians, as well as provide input on the best possible care options.
For example, several years ago the Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA) published the findings of a study that showed a correlation between the number of babies that wind up on ventilators in neonatal intensive care units (NIC) and at what point physicians induced labor.
"Using the practices and technologies in place at the Homer-Warner Center, we were able to change behavior. It had a dramatic impact on the health of babies," he said. "We were at about 30% of births induced prior to 39 weeks." Now, he said, "about 3%" are induced that early.
Probst said reducing the number of babies in NIC units saves "millions and millions" of dollars per hospital in his system. "We've got hundreds of such examples," he said.