Using open innovation and cognitive computing to solve healthcare's vexing problems

Nicole Gardner | Modern Healthcare | December 4, 2015

Nicole Gardner...Open innovation can help healthcare organizations learn from each other to benefit a broader innovation network, while cognitive systems can learn from training by experts, from every interaction, and from continually ingesting new sets of data. In fact, they never stop learning. The IBM report highlights how agencies are employing open innovation across healthcare technology systems. Applying cognitive computing would further promote that innovation.

One example is the U.S. Veterans Affairs Department. The agency was tasked with building a new approach around its open source-based VistA EHR software. The VA found that while there was expertise and information contained within the software, communication using the system was fragmented and disconnected. Additionally, many of the modules within the software had been customized by a particular agency or vendor, making them difficult to use.

The VA's main challenge was how to use the fragmented code developed internally to be deployed elsewhere. So the VA converted VistA into an open-source software model. After this conversion, the agency could easily share its developers' expertise while providing a degree of credibility for the software, especially in the eyes of external hospitals that were considering investing in VistA. The VA also used open innovation methods during VistA's implementation. It recruited and retained a diverse pool of members from multiple organizations to ensure a breadth of perspectives. It established working groups to engage members, allowing them to focus efforts on specific areas where they were able to obtain the most significant return on their involvement...