In early March, Becker’s Hospital Review reported that MD Anderson Cancer Center placed their Oncology Expert Advisor project on hold. Announced in 2013, the joint effort between the hospital and the software giant was to be a revolutionary step forward in the use of “big data” to significantly improve clinical decision making and healthcare delivery. The article cites a number of reasons as to why the initiative was sidelined, not the least of which was cost. However, according to the article, a far more interesting complication arose involving MD Anderson’s electronic health record (EHR) system, which was changed after the program had begun. IBM Watson’s technology no longer communicated with the new EHR system and therefore had outdated information.
“There is simply no replacement for the human brain when it comes to the critical appraisal of peer-reviewed, published evidence.”
So, despite the advanced nature of the technology and its touted ability to fundamentally automate care decisions…because of change in the documentation system…the data essentially became “dumb.” This is not a commentary on the quality of IBM Watson or the program in place at MD Anderson. The dissolution of that partnership, however, I feel highlights a sentiment that I’ve carried since talks of big data’s influence on care decisions began.
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I hold true that there is simply no replacement for the human brain when it comes to the critical appraisal of peer-reviewed, published evidence. Remember, evidence IS a form of data; when it is analyzed with scientific rigor to determine the best procedures, drugs, biologics, and devices to be used to care for patients, it works to complement the historical data collected by EHRs. Additionally, unbiased evidence integrated with technologies like IBM Watson can only serve to bolster the predictive qualities that will enhance efficiency and improve patient outcomes. The best clinical evidence comes from controlled clinical trials—experimentation. Analyses of historical data may not yield the same insights nor can artificial intelligence (AI) yet critique or critically evaluate the execution of a study.
“We’re not just a part of the future of care delivery; we’re helping to define it.”
We will continue to push for the use of unbiased, thoroughly scrutinized evidence to transform the delivery of healthcare. If you’re not a Hayes client, schedule a demo to experience the offerings of our full evidence solution and see how we’re not just a part of the future of care delivery; we’re helping to define it.
In the meantime, download our FREE eBook, Big Data, MACRA, and Evidence: Summiting Healthcare’s Everest for a more in-depth discussion of the role of evidence.