Cleveland Clinic, Atrius use cognitive computing to fight physician burnout

IBM Watson
Healthcare organizations see potential in cognitive computing systems like IBM Watson for mitigating physician burnout.

Concern about physician burnout has remained consistently high among healthcare leaders, but organizations have relatively few effective tools with which to address the problem. Now, major healthcare industry players are turning to cognitive computing to help them fight physician burnout.

Pointing to a pair of high-profile collaborations with IBM Watson by the Cleveland Clinic and Atrius Health, an article in HealthData Management makes the case for cognitive computing as a vital tool for improving efficiency and quality of care.

Even where administrations seek to encourage better work-life balance and social support, the shifts in care delivery after the passage of the Affordable Care Act have frequently caused clinicians to feel more isolated and overwhelmed.

The rise of cognitive computing, where artificial intelligence systems receive training to assist clinicians in synthesizing and navigating huge amounts of data, offers potential for relieving some of the stress physicians face, according to William Morris, M.D., associate chief information officer at the Cleveland Clinic, in a HealthData Management article.

He emphasized that his organization’s partnership with IBM Watson aims to “augment the clinical thought process, not to replace it.”

This is an important distinction for physicians leery of having their independence supplanted by technology, as IBM CEO Ginni Rometty noted in her keynote speech at the 2017 HIMSS conference in February.

Joe Kimura, M.D., chief medical officer of Atrius Health in Boston, sees technology as a critical tool for physicians navigating an increasingly unwieldy amount of medical information. “You feel guilty if you’re not processing all the data to make good decisions for your patients,” he told the publication.