The Ubiquity and Promise of Machine Learning | Geneia

The Ubiquity and Promise of Machine Learning

November 13, 2015
Heather Lavoie, Chief Strategy Officer, Geneia


Machine learning is actively transforming every industry, all around us. But do we really understand what it is, and why it matters? To put it plainly, machine learning is a subfield of artificial intelligence that focuses on pattern recognition and computational learning. It has led to the creation of machines that can, through sophisticated algorithms, do things they were not explicitly programmed to do. Machines in actuality are gaining knowledge, posing questions and discovering new knowledge, new correlations, that lead to even more questions. The result – machines that learn, understand, think, reason, predict and guide.

Machine learning is not a new concept, nor are learning algorithms. The very first algorithm dates all the way back to 1843 and the computational woman pioneer Ada Lovelace.  What is new is their ability to automatically apply complex calculations to vast stores of data over and over, faster and faster, to become better and better, in a continuous improvement cycle. This rapid, iterative cycle of analysis and growth is a quantum leap that is fundamentally shifting the way we think through our problems and make our decisions.

We are all familiar with the rudimentary algorithms that guide us as we navigate the overwhelming number of movie, book and dating choices we face every day. But sophisticated algorithms are also driving cars and discovering treatment and cures for disease.

Arguably, no one field has a more disparate, important, complex and ever-changing environment than healthcare – and no industry benefits more from its data synthesis. Physician offices, hospitals, emergency rooms, wearable devices, pathology labs, surgery, specialists, pharmacies, insurance companies…each has its own digital record-keeping system, effectively, its own island of data. But synthesizing this information takes far more than any one or group of individuals could manage in any reasonable timeframe.

That is why we knit together the immense and fragmented data into a single unified source, our Theon® platform. We normalize records from every source, eliminating duplication and differing coding protocols. Then sophisticated algorithms seek out patterns, analyze and provide meaningful guidance for decisions across care and cost settings, fit for purpose for each stakeholder.

Machines that learn, through sophisticated algorithms, hold tremendous promise on the path to meaningful healthcare transformation and are at the heart of our Theon® platform. Today, hospitals, physicians, health plans and employers are steadily transforming themselves with our help. By way of example:

  • Within 20 minutes of system use, a 19,000-employee company discovered pharmacy inefficiencies that led to $39,000 in savings opportunities with no adverse impact on employees.
  • Providers are recapturing the #JoyofMedicine by freeing up 60 – 90 minutes each day of administrative time, while simultaneously reducing readmission rates by 30 – 50 percent.
  • We are identifying inefficiencies in administrative, underwriting and actuarial costs, which has led to substantial savings for payer organizations, and
  • We are remotely monitoring high-risk patients, and helping them access preventive care before an emergency develops – improving lives while easing the burden on emergency services.

These alone are amazing examples of the power and value of meaningful analytics. But as data is constantly streaming and health needs constantly changing, we need to not only keep up, but also gain control. Gaining control is what our deep-learning platform is all about. Not only are previously unseen patterns revealed at the initial avalanche of data, but the algorithms themselves rapidly improve as more data comes in. They keep getting better and better and are more customized and more focused on the solutions that are important within each setting.

Our world is being transformed right now and machine learning will drive and guide our way as we make our most important decisions. Learning machines like the Theon® platform will discover new ways of doing things they are not currently programmed to do. As more and more people enter our healthcare system, our platform will conceive of better and better solutions – solutions that will ultimately help us improve the quality of life for the people we serve. We fundamentally believe that is a promise worth pursuing.

DIVE DEEPER

WATCH NOW - On-demand Webinar:

healthsystemCIO.com All Stars Panel: Leveraging Artificial Intelligence and Machine Learning to Improve Your Enterprise.

Heather Lavoie, Geneia’s Chief Strategy Officer, engaged in a lively and informative discussion with the notable Dr. Shafiq Rab, VP/CIO, Hackensack University Medical Center and Chuck Podesta, CIO, UC, Irvine Health on how artificial intelligence and machine learning are shaping healthcare enterprises now and in the future.


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